By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
COAL TWP. -- There may be no crying in baseball but it's OK to get choked up after guiding your team to your alma mater's 1,000th win.
That's what happened to Lourdes coach Pete Long, the fifth head coach in the program's history, on Thursday night as the Red Raiders beat rival Schuylkill Haven 48-22 at Lee E. Korbich Memorial gym.
"This is my dream job. I grew up here on the court beginning as a water boy and then a player and now a coach," Long said, fighting back tears. "To be a part of this is great. It means a lot to this school and the student-athletes that went through this building."
The question that was raised at the beginning of the season was how many wins Long's young team would get, and if the milestone was within reach.
"We didn't talk about it too much at the beginning of the year, but the kids were aware of it," Long said. "Not too many people thought we would reach the mark with such a young team."
The Red Raiders were 18-7 last year.
Long's starting lineup Thursday had one senior in Mike Gilger, three freshmen and a junior. They accounted for 34 of the 48 points, led by freshman Larry Czeponis' game-high 12. Ken Paweluizyk added 10 off the bench.
The school opened in 1959 and since then has averaged nearly 18 wins a season with the most (30) coming in the 1979-80 season.
"The kids who believed that we could get to 1,000 wins (the 900th win came on Dec. 2, 2005) are the kids in the locker room and they showed it," Long said. "Our match-up zone was relentless and we shot the ball with confidence and played with a lot of intensity."