It was a special moment for Chippewa coach Dennis Schrock when all 15 members of his girls basketball team stood in a line with shirts that spelled “500 WINS COACH!” after the Chipps (9-2) defeated Our Lady of the Elms 86-11 in the fourth annual Hoops for Habits Holiday Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Schrock, 63, a retired teacher, is in his 28th season as a girls basketball coach, including 26 seasons at Chippewa. He took some time off coaching to watch his children play basketball in high school and college, but returned to lead the Chippewa program last season.
“Personally, it is a number that very few people have been able to achieve. When I first retired, I never thought I would get it,” Schrock said.
All 15 of the girls who donned blue-and-white shirts to honor their coach played in the game, which meant a lot to Schrock.
“It was absolutely amazing for all my girls to get in the game,” he said. “They’re all very deserving of it. I know it means a lot to them to be a part of number 500 and I made sure to get them all in the game.”
A young Chippewa team that sports only one senior on its roster was paced early by its underclassmen and a full-court press that was too much for the host Panthers (2-7) to handle.
Freshman guard Carly Koncz set the tone on defense in the first quarter with three consecutive steals before the Panthers could reach half court. The steals all led to easy Chippewa scores.
Koncz finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Fellow freshman Ashley Richardson was also a leading force in her coach’s 500th victory. The 6-foot center was dominant in the paint all game, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking five shots to go along with her 19 points.
“When I first saw Richardson and Koncz play as eighth-graders, I knew how good they were going to be, but I didn’t know it was going to be this quick,” Schrock said. “Richardson averages a double-double every game.”
Leading the Chipps in scoring was sophomore guard Maegan Storad, who scored 20 points, including going 4-4 on 3-pointers, all in the first half.
The lone senior on the Chipps’ roster, forward Hannah Petit, is one of a long line of Petits to play for Schrock. Younger siblings Alicia and Ashley are on the roster and two older Petit girls stood by with tears in their eyes for their former coach after the game. All five took turns hugging and congratulating Schrock and took a group picture.
“I think it’s awesome that I got to be a part of one of his teams,” Hannah Petit said. “My sisters played all four years for him, so it means a lot to me to be a part of such a big deal and we’re all glad he’s back.”
The community turnout meant the most to Schrock, who appeared to be moved after the game by the support.
“Most importantly, it means so much more to me because of all my girls that have played for me,” Schrock said.
“It’s just so rewarding to see all the people here and my former players to celebrate with me. It’s a lot bigger than just my number 500. It’s for the community, my kids, my athletes, my family. That’s what it means to me.”