Best Small-Town High School Basketball Teams
All 50 states have one.
Best Small-Town High School Basketball Teams
There's something special about growing up in a small town. The traditions. The bonds. The community. And, if you're lucky, you might mix in a pretty amazing high school basketball team.
Small towns across America produce some of the best high school basketball being played anywhere, regardless of population size. All 50 states have small-town basketball powerhouses that define communities for decades.
So what exactly is a small town? In this case, it's a town with a population of around 25,000 or less. These are the best small-town high school basketball programs in every state.
Wyoming — Rock Springs High School
City: Rock Springs, Wyoming
State championships: 13 (1924, 1928, 1932, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1941, 1950, 1960, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976)
Notable coaches: Okie Blanchard, Walter Dowler, Mack Peyton, Eddie Talboom, Spiro Varras
Notable players: Ernie Dunn, Gerald Mattinson, John Duzik, Martin Krpan, Tony Ktana, Alfred Bozner, Jack Adams, Graedyn Buell, Kelby Kramer
Bottom line: The state of Wyoming does little to nothing to keep all-time records for its high school sports programs, but thanks to sports historian Patrick Schmiedt and websites like wyoming-basketball.com, we can get a sense of the state's prep history.
In basketball, no team stood taller than Rock Springs through most of the 20th century — 13 state championships from 1924 to 1976, along with 12 state runner-up finishes.
Rock Springs' greatest era came in the early 1970s, when they won three consecutive state championships from 1971 to 1973.
Wisconsin — Randolph High School
City: Randolph, Wisconsin
State championships: 10 (1996, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013)
Notable coaches: Bob Haffele
Notable players: Greg Stiemsma, Ryan Tillema
Bottom line: All 10 of tiny Randolph High's record 10 state championships have come in the last 25 years and all 10 came with head coach Bob Haffele leading the team. Randolph is also 10-1 in the state championship game.
Randolph has two undefeated seasons as well, in 2004 and 2010. The school's greatest player was 6-foot-11 center Greg Stiemsma, who led Randolph to three consecutive state championships from 2003 to 2005.
Stiemsma played for the University of Wisconsin, then four seasons in the NBA.
West Virginia — Woodrow Wilson High School
City: Beckley, West Virginia
State championships: 16 (1946, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2008)
Notable coaches: David Barksdale, Ron Kidd
Notable players: Tamar Slay, Gene Nabors, Kelvin Pannell, Damien Tunstalle, Marcus Manns, Chase DeWese, Shane Maynard, Derek Jones, Ryan Culicerto, John Wooten, Ron Lilly
Bottom line: Legendary head coach David Barksdale won a state championship as a player in 1962, then won five state championships during his tenure. He famously had to sit in the stands during the 1995 state championship game after receiving a technical foul in the semifinals, which incurred an automatic suspension in the next game.
Barskdale had some big-time stars in his day, including future NBA Draft pick Tamar Slay, who led Woodrow Wilson to back-to-back state championships in 1997 and 1998, went on to star at Marshall University, and played 13 years of pro basketball.
Washington — Sunnyside Christian High School
City: Sunnyside, Washington
State championships: 11 (1992, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Notable coaches: Dean Wagenaar
Notable players: Luke Wagenaar, Brian Broersma
Bottom line: Washington is a state with a deep high school basketball history, from big schools in Seattle to small ones like Sunnyside Christian School, which has won 11 state championships in its history.
For Sunnyside, 10 of those championships have come in the last 20 years, including five state championships in the 2010s and three consecutive titles from 2017 to 2019.
Head coach Dean Wagenaar has won 10 titles with Sunnyside Christian.
Virginia — Martinsville High School
City: Martinsville, Virginia
State championships: 15 (1958, 1961, 1964, 1966, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2015, 2016)
Notable coaches: Mel Cartwright, Robert "Husky" Hall, Jeff Adkins, Troy Wells
Notable players: Jeff Adkins, Devonnte Holland, Gary Dalton, Dennis Mahan,
Bottom line: Legendary Martinsville High head coach Robert "Husky" Hall still holds the career record for state championships with seven, and was inducted into one of the first classes in the Virginia High School Hall of Fame in 1991.
Hall was actually an assistant coach to Mel Cartwright on three other state championship teams in 1958, 1961 and 1965.
All told, Martinsville's 15 state championships are the most in Virginia history. The latest, greatest player to come through Martinsville was 6-foot-7 forward Devonnte Holland, who led the school to back-to-back state championships in 2015 and 2016 and is the school's career leading scorer and rebounder.
Vermont — Proctor High School
City: Proctor, Vermont
State championships: 18 (1944, 1955, 1956, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Notable coaches: Jim Leamy, Dick Wilcox, Chris Hughes
Notable players: Scott Allenby, Clay Doty, Dave Shortsleeve, Randy Chartrand, Kyle McQuarrie, Curtis Robinson
Bottom line: Let's start with Proctor High's mascot. The Phantoms are one of the coolest mascot names we've ever come across.
Cool mascots don't win state championships, however, and Proctor High has 18 of them, including three different three-peats from 1968 to 1970, 2006 to 2009 and 2015 to 2017.
They've also had six 1,000-point scorers in school history.
Utah — South Sevier High School
City: Monroe, Utah
State championships: 11 (1951, 1954, 1964, 1965, 1970, 1984, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2012)
Notable coaches: Scott Hunt, Glenn Clark, Vernon Roundy, Lynn Parsons, Rhet Parsons
Notable players: Nathan Roberts, Lynn Parsons, Race Parsons, Caleb Barton
Bottom line: South Sevier High's basketball legacy isn't just tagged to any one decade. Since the school won its first state championship in 1951, they've won at least one state championship in every decade except for the 1990s.
There is a throughline for South Sevier's basketball feats with the Parsons family. Lynn Parsons still holds the Utah single-game scoring record with 58 points, played for BYU and later won a state championship as head coach.
Lynn Parsons' grandson, Race Parsons, also became one of the greatest prep players in Utah history at South Sevier and was named Class 2A Player of the Year twice.
Texas — Snook High School
City: Snook, Texas
State championships: 10 (1965, 1966, 1969, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)
Notable coaches: Donnie Victorick
Notable players: John Ray Godfrey, Mike Junek, Darin Benford, Don Wiley
Bottom line: Tiny Snook High is tied with Austin High for the most appearances in the state tournament with 19 and its 10 state championships are the most in Texas history.
Before there were rules on how many games high school teams could play in a season, Snook had some pretty wild years, including 44-1 in 1978-79 and 45-2 in 1979-80, and an unbelievable 52-0 record on the way to winning a state championship in 1966.
Tennessee — Perry County High School
City: Linden, Tennessee
State championships: 6 (1955, 1956, 1957, 1976, 1977, 1997)
Notable coaches: Dave Rhodes
Notable players: Mike Rhodes, Shawn Thornton, Kirk Haston, David Rhodes
Bottom line: For all of the great teams in Perry County High history, the one that stands out against all others has to be the 1997 state championship team, which went 37-0 and brought the school its first state title in 20 years.
Perry County won its first three state titles in a row, then two more in 1976 and 1977 behind Tennessee Player of the Year Mike Rhodes, a 6-foot-6 guard who went on to star at Vanderbilt.
South Dakota — Mitchell High School
City: MItchell, South Dakota
State championships: 16 (1932, 1935, 1940, 1948, 1950, 1964, 1971, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2005)
Notable coaches: Gary Munsen
Notable players: Mike Miller, Bart Friedrick, Chad Anderson
Bottom line: Legendary Mitchell High head coach Gary Munsen won his first state championship in his seventh season, kicking off a run of three consecutive state titles for Mitchell.
Of all Munsen's teams — he would eventually win 12 state championships coaching both boys and girls at Mitchell — the greatest was likely his 1984-85 team that went 23-0 and was the only unbeaten team under Munsen.
That squad, which was inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984, was led by Bart Friedrick, who went on to play Division I basketball at Drake. Mitchell's greatest player? That's longtime NBA standout Mike Miller.
South Carolina — Great Falls High School
City: Great Falls, South Carolina
State championships: 11 (1935, 1936, 1977, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2020)
Notable coaches: John Smith, Jimmy Duncan
Notable players: Torrey Craig, Xavier Holmes, Kelton Talford
Bottom line: The story of the basketball dynasty at Great Falls High starts with head coach John Smith, who led the team from 1969 to 2016, won a state-record 943 games and nine of the school's 11 state championships.
Of all the great players in Great Falls history, perhaps 6-foot-7 forward Torrey Craig stands above the rest although he never won a state title. Craig was named Class 1A Player of the Year as a senior, starred at South Carolina Upstate in college and has been in the NBA since 2017.
Rhode Island — Westerly High School
City: Westerly, Rhode Island
State championships: 14 (1941, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1967)
Notable coaches: James Federico, John Stellitano
Notable players: Robert Ulles, Francis Pellegrino, John Gentile, Walter Nigrelli, Robert Serra, Dave Stenhouse, William Sullivan, George Williamson, Frank Reale, Robert Stenhouse, Roger Hamilton, Frederick Roever, Paul St. Onge
Bottom line: Few schools on this list have gone as long without a state championship as Westerly High, which won all 14 of its titles in a 26-year span from 1941 to 1967.
Only two coaches won state titles in that time for Westerly, and in an interesting twist, head coach James Federico had three separate coaching stints. He won six state championships from 1941 to 1948, returned from 1949 to 1954 and won another state title, then came back for one more year, 1966-67, and won another state title.
Pennsylvania — Germantown Academy
City: Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
State championships: 24 (1930, 1954, 1959, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1985, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Notable coaches: Jim Fenerty, Mike Gold, Dave Hoch, George Davidson, Alex DeLucia
Notable players: Cameron Ayers, Matt Walsh, Alvin Williams
Bottom line: Germantown Academy doesn't play for state titles. They play for Philadelphia Inter-Academic League titles, but in this case, we're making an exception.
Germantown Academy has been guided by head coach Jim Fenerty, who has won every major coaching honor in the state of Pennsylvania and created a pipeline to Division I basketball from his program.
Fenerty won his first PIAL title in 1992 and has won 17 championships total.
Oregon — Central High School
City: Independence, Oregon
State championships: 7 (1963, 1975, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2010, 2012)
Notable coaches: Don Stensland, Glen Clark, Terry McClary, Bob McBeth
Notable players: Gary Neal, Dale Wildfang, Miles Yoder, Jason Clark, Lance Marr, Jason Ball, Shawn Lewis, Tanner Omlid
Bottom line: Central High took a 20-year break from winning state championships following three consecutive titles from 1988 to 1990 but got a big boost with perhaps its greatest player of all time in 2012 Class 4A Player of the Year Tanner Omlid.
Central, which also has three state runner-up finishes, followed Omlid's lead to state championships in 2010 and 2012. Omlid started his college career at Army before he transferred home to play for Western Oregon, where he was named GNAC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and GNAC Player of the Year as a senior.
Oklahoma — Fort Cobb-Broxton High School
City: Fort Cobb, Oklahoma
State championships: 7 (2000, 2005, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Notable coaches: Scott Hines
Notable players: Kellen Hines, Cameron Hines, Greydon Steinmetz, Gary Gray
Bottom line: The Fort Cobb-Broxton High consolidated basketball program has produced some lifetime memories for both communities. Combined, they have a population of barely over 1,000.
Fort Cobb-Broxton has won seven state championships since 2000, including four consecutive titles from 2015 to 2018 and a state runner-up finish in 2019.
Scott Hines has been the head coach for Fort Cobb-Broxton for all seven state championship teams, and two of his sons, Kellen and Cameron, have been star players for the school.
Ohio — Orrville High School
City: Orrville, Ohio
State championships: 3 (1992, 1995, 1996)
Notable coaches: Steve Smith
Notable players: Kevin Summers, Renauld Ray, Marcell Denson,
Bottom line: Orrville High won all three of its state championships over five seasons, winning its first title in 1992 followed by back-to-back titles in 1995 and 1996.
The coach for all three state championship teams was Steve Smith, who was named Ohio Division III Coach of the Year in 1992 after the squad won its first title and went 27-1.
North Dakota — Jamestown High School
City: Jamestown, North Dakota
State championships: 7 (1939, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1987, 1993, 2019)
Notable coaches: Jerry Meyer,
Notable players: John Weir, Doug Beaudoin, Dale Krueger, Mason Walters, Bryan Flam
Bottom line: Jamestown High has had two players in its storied history named North Dakota Mr. Basketball. Both players won state championships that year.
Bryan Flam was named North Dakota Mr. Basketball in leading Jamestown to a state title, the same year head coach Jerry Meyer was named NDHSCA Coach of the Year.
The latest player to win Mr. Basketball from Jamestown might also be the best player in school history — 6-foot-9 forward Mason Walters, who led his team to the 2019 state title and stayed home to attend the University of Jamestown, where he averaged 22 points and 11.6 rebounds as a sophomore in 2020-21.
North Carolina — Kinston High School
City: Kinston, North Carolina
State championships: 11 (1950, 1955, 1964, 1965, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Notable coaches: Paul Jones, Wells Gulledge, Perry Tyndall
Notable players: Craig Dawson, Jerry Stackhouse, Reggie Bullock, Tony Dawson, Cedric Maxwell, Charles Shackleford
Bottom line: We will take Kinston High's all-time starting five against any team's on this list. The group includes two-time NBA champion and NBA Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell, two-time NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse and 2013 NBA first-round pick Reggie Bullock.
Stackhouse's stat line at Kinston is one of the more amazing we've ever seen for a high school player. He scored 2,039 points in just three seasons before transferring to Oak Hill Academy for his senior season.
New York — Long Island Lutheran High School
City: Brookville, New York
State championships: 8 (1981, 1982, 1994, 1997, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2019)
Notable coaches: Bob McKillop, John Buck
Notable players: Reggie Carter, Bill Chamberlain, Wayne McKoy, Drew Nicholas, Bill Wennington, Andre Curbelo
Bottom line: In New York, when it comes to high school sports, basketball is king. And no team from a small town has played it better than Long Island Lutheran School in Brookville, which has pumped out a steady stream of professional players over the decades.
Long Island Lutheran, which also has an elite girls program, has won at least one state championship in every decade since the 1980s, with the latest coming in 2019.
The most famous player to come out of Long Island Lutheran was center Bill Wennington. While he may not be their best player of all time — that's up for debate — Wennington went to the Final Four with St. John's in 1985 and won three NBA championships alongside Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls from 1996 to 1998.
New Mexico — Cliff High School
City: Cliff, New Mexico
State championships: 12 (1982, 1983, 1985, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016)
Notable coaches: Dale Shock, Pete Shock
Notable players: Ethan Shelley, Pete Shock, Norman Patton, Brian Shock, Norman Patton
Bottom line: Tiny Cliff High School in Cliff, New Mexico, is likely the smallest school on the list, with only 155 students in grades 7-12.
Cliff has established a basketball legacy that stretches far beyond the size of its school or its town, winning 12 state championships since 1982. Cliff High has won at least one state title in each decade since, including four in the 1990s and four in the 2010s.
New Jersey — The Patrick School
City: Hillside, New Jersey
State championships: 14 (1947, 1948, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2017)
Notable coaches: Kevin Boyle
Notable players: Kyrie Irving, Shaheen Holloway, Al Harrington, Derrick Gordon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Samuel Dalembert, Derrick Caracter, Nick Richards, Mike Nardi, Yves Mekongo Mbala, Herve Lamizana, Dakari Johnson,
Bottom line: There won't be another state championship added to this list without a miracle. The Patrick School was tossed from the New Jersey State Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 2020 after it established more than one competitive team on the varsity level.
Of all the great players in The Patrick School's history, one stands head and shoulders above the rest — seven-time NBA All-Star, NBA champion and 2011 NBA draft No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving.
New Hampshire — Conant High School
City: Jaffrey, New Hampshire
State championships: 12 (1985, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2019)
Notable coaches: Joe Giovannangeli, Eric Saucier
Notable players: Evan Gray
Bottom line: The baton was passed from head coach Joe Giovannangeli to assistant coach Eric Saucier in July 2008, midway through Conant High's run of five consecutive state championships from 2006 to 2010.
Saucier kept it going and has won five state championships since he was hired — one short of Giovannangeli's record.
Nevada — Virginia City High School
City: Virginia City, Nevada
State championships: 17 (1959, 1962, 1063, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 2005)
Notable coaches: Tom Andreasen, Tom Maurer
Notable players: John Seymour, Bob Del Carlo, Bob Gallagher
Bottom line: Virginia City has four of the top 10 winning streaks in Nevada high school basketball history, including a state-record 93-game winning streak from 1982 to 1986 that encompassed five state championships.
It wasn't the first time Virginia City won consecutive state championships. They also won six consecutive titles from 1962 to 1967. John Seymour, who played from 1970 to 1973, is still No. 2 in state history with 1,398 career rebounds.
Nebraska — Sacred Heart Catholic High School
City: Falls City, Nebraska
State championships: 11 (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2018, 2020, 2021)
Notable coaches: Doug Goltz
Notable players: Steve Simon, Matt Goltz, Caleb Pokorny, Buck Sells
Bottom line: It's not hard to track Sacred Heart Catholic's amazing basketball legacy. It began when Doug Goltz was hired as head coach.
Goltz won four consecutive state championships to begin his career from 1988 to 1991 and is the coach behind all 11 of the school's state championships.
The 2021 state championship came with an added bit of history for Goltz and Sacred Heart as he tied Wisner-Pilger's Duane Mendlik for the state record with 694 career wins with a victory over No. 1 Parkview Christian in the Class D-2 championship game.
Another amazing statistic about Goltz? He also coached Sacred Heart's football team to eight state championships and went 18-0 in state championship games between the two sports.
Montana — Beaverhead County High School
City: Dillon, Montana
State championships: 10 (1920, 1936, 1946, 1990, 1999, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2016, 2017)
Notable coaches: Terry Thomas,
Notable players: Gabe Walker, Tanner Haverfield
Bottom line: Beaverhead County's 10 state championships are tied with four other schools for the most in Montana history. Beaverhead County has also finished as state runner-up five times, including four times in the last decade.
The last state championship for Beaverhead County came thanks to a perfect season in 2016-17 and behind the virtuoso performance of 6-foot-3 senior guard Tanner Haverfield, who averaged 17.8 points.
Missouri — Scott County Central High School
City: Sikeston, Missouri
State championships: 18 (1976, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015)
Notable coaches: Ron Cookson, Kenyon Wright, Frank Staple
Notable players: Marcus Timmons
Bottom line: Of Scott County Central High's 18 state championships, the first 13 belong to former head coach Ron Cookson, who won his first title in 1976 and final title in 2009.
Cookson and Scott County Central's greatest stretch came from 1985 to 1991, when the school won seven consecutive state championships.
After Cookson retired following the 2009 state title, Kenyon Wright took over as head coach and won three consecutive state championships through 2012. The program's greatest player of all time, Marcus Timmons, starred at Southern Illinois, then played professionally overseas from 1996 to 2007.
Mississippi — Madison-Ridgeland Academy
City: Madison, Mississippi
State championships: 32 (N/A)
Notable coaches: Richard Duease
Notable players: Kevin Baylot, Brent Roberts, Ross Dorr, Brandon Bolen, Devin Gilmore
Bottom line: Madison-Ridgeland Academy doesn't play for traditional Mississippi state championships. They play in the MidSouth Association of Independent Schools.
That being said, when it comes to state records to even find a public school that might qualify for our small-town list of the best basketball teams would be hard sledding. The state association itself only has records available for state championships dating back to 2006.
Minnesota — Lake City Lincoln High School
City: Lake City, Minnesota
State championships: 3 (1978, 1979, 1990)
Notable coaches: Jerry Snyder
Notable players: Randy Breuer, Nathan Heise
Bottom line: Legendary Lake City Lincoln High head coach Jerry Snyder was the architect behind all three of the school's state championships, including back-to-back titles in 1978 and 1979, with the 1979 team finishing a perfect 26-0.
The key to those first two championship squads for Snyder was 7-foot-3 center Randy Breuer, who still holds the state tournament scoring record with 113 points in 1979.
Breuer was named Minnesota Mr. Basketball in 1979 before going on to star for the University of Minnesota, where he was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. He was selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 1983 NBA draft and played 11 seasons in the NBA.
Michigan — River Rouge High School
City: River Rouge, Michigan
State championships: 14 (1954, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1998, 1999)
Notable coaches: Lofton Greene
Notable players: Charles Kage, Brent Darby, Leighton Moulton, Willie Betts, Ken Wilburn, Blanche Martin
Bottom line: River Rouge head coach Lofton Greene was the man behind River Rouge's incredible basketball dynasty. He won 12 championships in 19 seasons and finished as state runner-up four more times.
River Rouge's 14 state championships are the most in state history. There was a 16-year gap between Greene's last title in 1972 until River Rouge won back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999, which are also the last titles in school history.
Massachusetts — Avon High School
City: Avon, Massachusetts
State championships: 4 (1995, 1997, 1998, 1999)
Notable coaches: Rich Gifford
Notable players: Kevin Miranda
Bottom line: Avon High won all four of its state championships in a five-season stretch — the first in 1995, then three consecutive titles from 1997 to 1999.
All of those championships came with head coach Rich Gifford, who won 374 games at Avon and also served as the school's athletic director. He also adapted one of the more off-the-wall offensive concepts we've ever seen in high school basketball called "The 99" meaning that his teams can take up to 100 shots in some games.
The state of Massachusetts doesn't do a great job of keeping its high school sports records, which is too bad. A state with that great of a history of prep standouts probably deserves more.
Maryland — Gwynn Park High School
City: Brandywine, Maryland
State championships: 10 (1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1988)
Notable coaches: Tim Carney, Larry Gandee, Owen Johnson, George Leftwich,
Notable players: Mark Clark, Shorty Simmons, Earl Hawkins
Bottom line: Located in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Gwynn Park High kicked off its state championship legacy with three consecutive titles from 1968 to 1970.
Larry Gandee, who was an assistant coach to Tim Carney on the 1968 team, coached at Gwynn Park for 12 seasons and won five state championships.
Gandee is a member of the Prince George's County Athletic Hall of Fame as a coach but is also a member of the Glenville State Hall of Fame as a player after a standout career there in the early 1960s.
Maine — Jonesport-Beals High School
City: Jonesport, Maine
State championships: 10 (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1993, 2012)
Notable coaches: Ordman Alley, Skipper Alley
Notable players: Dwight Carver, Rick Fagonde, Robert Alley, Lindell Beal, B.J. Alley, Garet Beal
Bottom line: Garet Beal, a three-time All-State pick who led the school to its most recent state championship in 2012, is the only Jonesport-Beals player to be named Mr. Maine Basketball and the only junior to win Gatorade Maine Player of the Year, which he did in 2012.
There's a dark shadow hanging over the program's legacy because of allegations against legendary coach Ordman Alley, who won nine of the 10 state titles in Jonesport-Beals history.
He had his name removed from the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame after two women came forward and said Alley had sexual relationships with them when they were middle school students in the 1970s and Alley was beginning his career as Jonesport-Beals head coach.
Louisiana — Zwolle High School
City: Zwolle, Louisiana
State championships: 15 (1968, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2019)
Notable coaches: Bradley McLaren, Chad Crow, Bert West
Notable players: Joevoskie Mitchell, Marvin Frazier Jr., Michael Cutright, Tony Cutright
Bottom line: Zwolle High won an outlier state championship in 1968, then went 20 years before winning its next title in 1988 — the start of an amazing run of seven consecutive state titles that lasted until 1994.
Zwolle went another 12 years without a title but has won seven state championships (how fitting) since 2006.
The school's greatest player is likely Michael Cutright, the 1985 Louisiana Player of the Year who went on to star at McNeese State, was drafted by the Denver Nuggets and named to the All-Time All-Southland Conference Team alongside Joe Dumars and Karl Malone.
Kentucky — Ashland Blazer High School
City: Ashland, Kentucky
State championships: 4 (1928, 1933, 1934, 1961)
Notable coaches: Bob Wright
Notable players: Larry Conley, Harold Sergent, Ellis Johnson
Bottom line: Ashland High School — now known as Paul G. Blazer High School — created a basketball dynasty in the first part of the 20th century in basketball-crazed Kentucky.
Ashland's first great athlete was Ellis Johnson, who led the team to a state championship and mythical national championship in 1928 before he became Adolph Rupp's first All-American player at the University of Kentucky.
Two players off the 1961 state championship team, Harold Sergent and Larry Conley, were eventually inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, and Conley won a national championship with Rupp and Kentucky in 1966.
Kansas — McPherson High School
City: McPherson, Kansas
State championships: 13 (1972, 1973, 1974, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2014, 2015)
Notable coaches: Jay Frazier, Mike Henson, Kurt Kinnamon
Notable players: Steve Henson, Brad Underwood, Vic Chandler, Jeff Kilne, Todd Alexander, Brian Henson, Ryan Herrs, Josh Alexander, Matt Robins, Aubrey Bruner, Jordan Fithian
Bottom line: Of all the teams on this list, there's not one that has a greater home-court advantage than McPherson High and home games at The Roundhouse — an arena that we will stack up against any high school basketball stadium in the country.
The Bullpups won their first three state championships in a row, from 1972 to 1974, then played in the state championship game eight consecutive years from 1989 to 1996, winning five titles in that stretch. They then went to the state championship game five consecutive times from 2014 to 2018, winning two more titles.
You don't have to look far to find McPherson's impact on basketball as a whole. Former stars Steve Henson (UTSA) and Brad Underwood (Illinois) are both Division I head coaches.
Iowa — Western Christian High School
City: Hull, Iowa
State championships: 10 (1985, 1991, 1996, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2021)
Notable coaches: Jim Eekhoff, Derek Keizer
Notable players: Josh Van Lingen, Trevor Wolterstorff, Curt Hofman, Michael Ribbins, Mike Eekhoff, Derek Keizer, Ty Van Essen
Bottom line: Former Western Christian High head coach Jim Eekhoff retired following his record eighth state championship in 2017 and after 681 wins.
Despite having a population of just over 3,000 people, Hull, Iowa, has three high schools. Western Christian won its 10th state championship in 2021 by denying crosstown rival Boyden-Hull a second straight title in the Class 2A finals.
Indiana — Milan High School
City: Milan, Indiana
State championships: 1 (1954)
Notable coaches: Marvin Wood
Notable players: Bobby Plump, Gene White, William Jordan
Bottom line: We've been able to toe a fine line with most of our picks, but when it comes to the state of Indiana, we've got to put all reason and objectivity aside and go with pure emotion and pick Milan High.
Milan's 1954 state championship squad, the smallest school to win an All-Class title in state history, was the inspiration for the 1986 film "Hoosiers" — possibly the greatest sports movie of all time.
There is one striking similarity between the championship won by fictional Hickory High and Milan High. Hickory's Jimmy Chitwood hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer in the state championship game from the same spot Milan's Bobby Plump hit the game-winning shot in the state championship game in real life.
Chitwood's character was loosely based on Plump.
Illinois — Lawrenceville High School
City: Lawrenceville, Illinois
State championships: 4 (1972, 1974, 1982, 1983)
Notable coaches: Ron Felling
Notable players: Marty Simmons, Doug Novsek, Jay Shidler, Rich Leighty, Dennis Shidler
Bottom line: Lawrenceville High still owns the state record for consecutive wins — 68 straight victories over back-to-back 34-0 seasons that ended with state championships in 1982 and 1983.
Ron Felling was the head coach for all four of Lawrenceville's state championships and had a record 388-77 over 16 seasons before becoming a longtime assistant coach at the University of Indiana, where he won an NCAA championship in 1987 under Bobby Knight.
Idaho — Moscow High School
City: Moscow, Idaho
State championships: 10 (1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1923, 1933, 1934, 1972, 1980, 1997)
Notable coaches: Angus Werrell, Will E. Wilie, Ben Comrada, Gale Mix, Greg Hordemann
Notable players: Kevin Goetz, Jason Keep, Tom Keith, Adam Miller, Matt Pennicello, Rob Ross, Steve Duncanson, Kim Goetz,
Bottom line: Moscow won the first four state championships in Idaho History with two coaches, Angus Werrell and Will E. Willie, who both went back-to-back from 1917 to 1920. After head coach Gale Mix won back-to-back titles in 1933 and 1944, Moscow didn't win again until 1972 and won one championship each in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
The Goetz family has as deep of ties to the Moscow High program as any one family has to a school on this list. Brothers Dave, Greg, Kevin and Kim Goetz all played for the Bears. Kevin was an all-state player who won a state title in 1972, but it's Kim who can claim the title of the school's greatest player of all time.
The 6-foot-7 guard/forward led the College of Southern Idaho to an NJCAA national championship, starred at San Diego State and was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1979.
Hawaii — Kahuku High School
City: Kahuku, Hawaii
State championships: 4 (1971, 1973, 1974, 2017)
Notable coaches: Norman Pule, Harry Kahuani, Brandyn Akana
Notable players: Jessiya Villa, Tolu Smith, Okesene Ale,
Bottom line: Kahuku High, more known for its powerhouse football program, won three state titles in boys basketball in a four-year period from 1971 to 1974, and ended a 43-year championship drought with a state title in 2017.
Kahuku has been a perennial bridesmaid the last few decades. The school has lost in the state championship game four times since 2005.
The Honolulu Advertiser has done a great job of placing all of its all-state teams dating back to 1978 online, including Kahuku's back-to-back Honolulu Advertiser Player of the Year winners with Jessiya Villa (2017) and Tolu Smith (2018).
Georgia — Lanier High School
City: Sugar Hill, Georgia
State championships: 16 (1922, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1950, 1951)
Notable coaches: Selby Buck, Tom Porter
Notable players: Joe Murrow, Frog Dooley, Lafayette King, Bobby Schwartz, Bert Schwartz, Bill Fickling, Richard Reid, Inman Veal, John Hughes, Tommy Mixon, Jack Skinner
Bottom line: Lanier High's place in Georgia basketball history begins as the winner of the state's first state tournament in 1922.
Head coach Selby Buck was there for 12 of Lanier High's 16 state championships in two stints at the school, with his first title in 1927 and last title in 1951.
That 1951 title is also the last in school history — a 70-year drought.
Florida — Malone High School
City: Malone, Florida
State championships: 14 (1952, 1953, 1954, 1961, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2014)
Notable coaches: James S. Pavy, Homer Deuel, Marvin Lassiter, John Ellerbee, Matt Anderson, Steve Welch
Notable players: Chai Baker
Bottom line: Tiny Malone High trails only Miami Senior HIgh School in total state championships in state history. Malone is also tied for the state record with five consecutive championships with Jacksonville's Arlington Country Day. Malone won its five straight from 1994 to 1998.
Malone ended a 16-year title drought in 2014 thanks to a virtuoso performance from Chai Baker, who scored 44 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the state championship game victory over Hamilton County.
Delaware — Sanford School
City: Hockessin, Delaware
State championships: 10 (1986, 1991, 1992, 2002, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2019, 2021)
Notable coaches: Stan Waterman
Notable players: Walter Davis, Trevor Cooney, Nnanna Njoku, Jyare Davis
Bottom line: The Sanford School's latest state championship came behind a player that could end up being one of its best of all time — 6-foot-9 power forward Nnanna Njoku, who had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks in the championship game win over Smyrna High.
Njoku was named the 2021 Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year for his efforts and was one of the top recruits for powerhouse Villanova, where he could make an immediate impact.
There's also a change in store at Sanford, as longtime head coach Stan Waterman left the program in September 2021 to become the head coach at Delaware State. Waterman was Sanford's coach for 30 years and won nine state championships.
Connecticut — New Canaan High School
City: New Canaan, Connecticut
State championships: 8 (1932, 1933, 1934, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1962, 2019)
Notable coaches: Danny Melzer
Notable players: Gary Liberatore, Don Overbeck
Bottom line: If you feel like you've heard of New Canaan High in the news recently, it was probably because of Ryan McAleer hitting one of the craziest shots of all time to win a game against Stamford.
Unfortunately for wanna-be basketball historians like us, the state of Connecticut relies on outside sources to keep most of its state basketball records — although a group of Connecticut sportswriters is determined to create its own in the near future.
New Canaan is remarkable on this list because of the gap between its last two state championships. New Canaan won its seventh state title in 1962 and won its eighth state title in 2019.
Colorado — Sanford High School
City: Sanford, Colorado
State championships: 8 (1949, 1950, 1977, 1995, 2003, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Notable coaches: Rhett Larson, Wade Mortensen
Notable players: Chance Canty, Craig Mortensen, Wade Mortensen
Bottom line: Few schools on this list come from towns as small as Sanford, with a population of just a shade under 1,000. But its name is among the state record holders for total titles alongside schools from Denver (population: 715,000) and Greeley (population: 106,000).
Sanford's most recent spate of state titles included three consecutive championships from 2014 to 2016 and a 74-game winning streak that set the state record.
California — Harvard-Westlake School
City: Studio City, California
Population: 30,000-40,000 (estimated)
State championships: 3 (1996, 1997, 2016)
Notable coaches: Greg Hilliard, David Rebibo
Notable players: Jarron Collins, Jason Collins, Johnny Juzang, Jason Segel
Bottom line: Please forgive us for doing just a little bit of fudging on the numbers with densely populated California, where "small town" is a relevant term when it comes to numbers, and Studio City's Harvard-Westlake School seemed like the best fit despite being slightly out of size parameters.
Harvard-Westlake won back-to-back state championships behind future NBA centers and twin brothers Jarron and Jason Collins in 1996 and 1997. One of their teammates was future actor/director/writer Jason Segel.
Arkansas — Earle High School
City: Earle, Arkansas
State championships: 10 (1974, 1980, 1985, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Notable coaches: Otis Barker, Billy Murray
Notable players: Travonta Doolittle, Daquan Willford, Donte Garrett
Bottom line: Head coach Billy Murray has won seven state championships at Earle High dating back to 2000, including three consecutive titles from 2016 to 2018.
Earle won its first three state titles in an 11-year stretch from 1974 to 1985 then went 15 years without winning a title until Murray's first in 2000.
Arizona — Fort Thomas High School
City: Fort Thomas, Arizona
State championships: 12 (1963, 1967, 1980, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2020)
Notable coaches: Wil Hinton, Matthew Dona
Notable players: Mario Stanley, Skylar Kindelay, Latrell Titla
Bottom line: Fort Thomas is a blink-and-you-miss-it town in the southeast corner of Arizona with a population that usually hovers around 400 and is 93 percent Native American. They also have a basketball tradition that includes 12 state titles.
Fort Thomas ended a 15-year state championship drought when it brought home the title in 2020 with a monster game from big man Latrell Titla, who scored 9 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.
Perhaps the school's greatest team was in 1995, when Fort Thomas went 25-0 in the middle of a streak of four consecutive state titles.
Alaska — Ketchikan High School
City: Ketchikan, Alaska
State championships: 9 (1948, 1956, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1974, 2019)
Notable coaches: Claude Hunskor, Eric Stockhausen
Notable players: John Brown Chris Lee, Marcus Lee
Bottom line: There's a reason kids in Ketchikan get so good at basketball. With an average yearly rainfall approaching 200 inches, you can't be outside very much.
Ketchikan won state championships in four consecutive decades from the 1940s through the 1970s, including an epic run of four consecutive state titles from 1965 to 1968 behind superstar John Brown.
Then a crazy thing happened. Ketchikan went 45 years without winning a state championship before 2019, when they defeated Dimond High in the state championship game despite entering the tournament as the No. 8 seed.
Chris Lee, a star off that team, broke John Brown's school scoring record in January 2020.
Alabama — R.C. Hatch High School
City: Uniontown, Alabama
State championships: 10 (1978, 1985, 1987, 1994, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Notable coaches: Homer Davis, Eugene Mason
Notable players: Marvin Davis Hunter, Charlie Norfleet, Erwin Dudley, Frankie Sullivan
Bottom line: Eugene Mason won seven state championships as R.C. Hatch High's head coach for four consecutive decades before handing the reins off to Homer Davis, who won three consecutive state titles from 2006 to 2008.
The catalyst behind the latest three state championships was three-time Class 2A Player of the Year Frankie Sullivan, who went on to star at Auburn.