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Gough's 71 brings to light record debate

02/02/2013, 10:30pm CST
By Nicholas Kartos

High school sports records are always tricky.  Unlike the NCAA or professional sports, we don't have a history of impeccable record keeping at our disposal.   While you think you probably got most of it right, there is always things you have missed.

So for high school sports what exactly counts as a record?  

We usually deal with this sort of thing in the Track & Field world.  Their Honor Roll is one of the most sacred and thorough record books of any sport in the state.  There is always a back-and-forth about whether performances achieved at non-season events should count.

However, in basketball, this rang true last night as Christopher Gough from Mountaintop Christian in Horicon scored 71 points in a game against Eastbrook Academy.

Mountaintop Christian is not a WIAA member school.  They have a 34 game schedule this year and that is before nationals which is sanctioned by the National Association of Christian Athletes.  There schedule consists of other NACA schools, schools with other affiliations and some WIAA schools. 

The tricky part is they play in the Indian Trails conference that does include 2 out of 8 schools that compete in the WIAA.  In fact, the game that the 71 points was scored in, was against a WIAA school in Eastbrook.

On one side, the game was against a WIAA school, it was played by the rules the other WIAA plays against and it was by a player from a team in Wisconsin.

But, as mentioned, the team is from a non-WIAA member school.  They're players don't fall under the same requirements that WIAA athletes do.  Their team does not have to follow WIAA rules, such as their 30+ game schedule and who knows what else.

Ironically enough, through my research for the WBCA Hall of Fame I have been attempting to confirm the validity about the inclusion of another record on the same list.  The all-time leading high score in a single game was Aaron Ritchay from Mellen on December 23, 1916.  He put up an astounding 88 points.  This was in the era where there was a center jump after every made goal and the state tournament final was a whopping 15-3 score.  Also, while the WIAA counts the state tournaments as WIAA since 1916, in actuality the WIAA didn't take over until 1920.  

First and foremost, I was trying to just confirm that it actually happened.  It's always listed as the record, but it just seemed so absurd based on the era.  While I haven't found a clipping yet, I found two references to an article that was written about the game.  It was a 99-3 victory by Mellen over Butternut.  They played on a court that was only 50 feet long and Mellen executed the same set play the entire game that the Midgets couldn't apparently figure out.  You'd think maybe it was because Ritchay was just so tall, but he stood only 5-7.

Thus far, that is all I was able to confirm about the game.  Ritchay went on to play college basketball at Stevens Point and was a teacher, coach and then principal at Wisconsin Rapids for many years.  His record was referred to in articles about Ron Dibelius, Mickey Crowe and others since.  

So as we are ready to enshrine records on the walls at the JustAgame Fieldhouse what makes the cut?

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