Mariners: Remembering the 1987 championship

Lily Gray controls the ball

The 2017 Mariners will begin their tournamt run Monday, 7 p.m., at the Cross Center. Above, sophomore Lily Gray, controls the ball against Greenville. Photo by Jack Scott

THE ISLAND—In 1987, the Deer Isle-Stonington High School girls basketball team walked into the Bangor Auditorium as the second seed in Class D East. In the most successful post season for the Lady Mariners to date, that team emerged victorious as the Class D state champions, the first and last gold ball a DISHS girls team has won.

The team has returned to the tourna ment several times since then, registering quarterfinal and semifinal wins, and many players have joined the 1,000-point club at the school. Sharon Siebert, Jenn Shepard, Jenn Mayo and Audra Eaton all scored over 1,000 points during their time playing in a Mariner jersey. Ally Eaton, who graduated in 2016, was the most recent player to score 1,000, doing so during the quarterfinal tournament game last year.

Lisa Zanke, a member of that 1987 championship team, said she still keeps up with Mariner basketball, as do several other girls she played with that year. While some have since moved away, others, like Zanke, now have daughters of their own playing on the team.

“I still get that same butterfly feeling in my gut, just before tipoff,” said Zanke. “I have followed the high school teams over the years and still love high school basketball.”

Zanke’s daughter Natalie is a player on the team, and being a Mariner Mom is something Lisa Zanke is proud of.

The game of basketball has changed in terms of style and speed of play and discipline. In the 1980s and early ’90s, teams largely ran off-the-cuff offenses, relying on their basketball IQ to get players open for shots and points. These days, many teams rely on offenses drawn up by the coaches.

“These kids are much more disciplined with running their offense,” said Zanke. “I think we played more on impulse 30 years ago. We had plays; we just didn’t always utilize them. These kids practice many different offensive strategies, and we just went with it, sometimes not always to our coach’s liking, but he was happy if it worked.”

Offensive discipline has paid off this season, as the team currently is in fifth place in Class D North with an 11-7 record. The Lady Mariners have played well at home, going 6-3 against opponents on their home court, including two nail-biters against Searsport and Bangor Christian earlier in the season. The Lady Mariners won those games 38-37 and 41-40, respectively.

The Lady Mariners wrapped up the regular season with a 32-21 win over Bangor Christian, and as they enter the postseason, players and fans alike hope for a little bit of that post season magic from 1987.

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