Strange But True: The Wonder Teams From Passaic

Perhaps it was the good coaching that made the basketball team from Passaic (New Jersey) High School so great. Their skipper was Professor Ernest Blood, who had begun playing basketball in 1892, only a year after the game was invented. He began coaching in New England where he was born, then moved to Potsdam, New York, where his high-school team never tasted defeat. That particular winning streak lasted from 1906 through 1915.

Then Professor Blood moved to Passaic. There he began to recruit the best players from the city’s 12 schools.

Even though Blood wasn’t a young man, he taught basketball by example, not by giving orders. He often put on a uniform to work out with the boys.

Starting in 1915, Passaic High won 41 straight games before losing the New Jersey state championship game in 1919. The team promptly resumed its winning ways starting in 1920. Beginning with a 44-41 victory over Newark Junior College, Passiac High rattled off 26 straight victories. On and on went the streak: 31 straight wins in 1921, 33 straight in 1922, 28 in a row in 1923, another 29 straight in 1924, then 12 more in a row in 1925. All in all the Passiac “Wonder Teams” ran off a string of 159 consecutive regular-season victories.

But nothing lasts forever. On February 6, 1925, Hackensack (New Jersey) High School finally dropped Passaic, 39-35.

Professor Blood had already left the school after the 1923-1924 season. However, the record he set will probably never be equaled by another boys’ high-school team. From 1906 through the 1923-1924 season Ernest Blood’s teams lost only one game to another high school!

As great as Passaic’s record was, a far more impressive record was set by the girls’ varsity team from Baskins (Louisiana) High School. Starting with the opening game in 1947 against Ogden High, Baskins won 218 straight regular-season games, a streak that lasted into 1953.

Baskins’ coach was Willie Edna “Tiny” Tarbutton. In her first nine seasons at the head of the girls’ team, Tiny’s squads won the championship eight times.

From The Giant Book of More Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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1 Comment

  1. Seems Professor Blood was also quite a character.  During halftimes he would wrestle the school’s mascot bear, and would also throw a 16 pound shotput up in the air and then catch it on the back of his neck.
    His teams averaged a scoring differential of 4x that of their opponents.
    There wasn’t much of anything I could find on Edna, but her teams averaged a scoring differential of 2x over their opponents.

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