by John Ring
An undefeated team in the world of sports is really special.
It doesnt matter if its football, basketball, baseball or even soccer.
It doesnt matter if its played inside, outside, in the water or on the ice.
And it really doesnt matter if its a professional, collegiate or, in this case, a sophomore basketball team.
What matters most is that the Silver Streak girls sophomore team played 23 basketball games and won all 23 of them.
By doing that, they become just the second sophomore teamó and third in the history of the school in basketballó to win all of their games.
The scene at Thiel Gym last Thursday night was more of a celebration than a pair of games. Fans came prepared with 23-0 signs, WAIK broadcasted the game, it was Senior Night and in a very impressive fashion, the Silver Streaks tore apart a Peoria Manual basketball program that has fell off the charts after dominating regional basketball for the better part of a decade.
Rux and his team grabbed an early lead and didnt let up.
"In the third quarter," said Kristy McGunnigal, "I turned to a teammate on the bench and said, We got it. I knew it was a done deal and we were in."
"I was a little nervous at the start of the game because of what we were going after," said Libby White, who at 58", is the tallest player on the teamó yet a point guard. "I settled down after that, though."
Rux even brought back Sade Boyd, who was promoted to the varsity in January but was a big part of the first third of their season. "Coach Rux told me just the other night Id play with them and I was pretty excited about that," said Boyd. "I was surprised about it but happy at the same time."
After running the table, the Streaks were asked which team was the toughest they played and they had a lot of different opinions.
"Sterling," said Michelle Dennison, "because they were the most physical."
"Buffalo Grove," said Natalie Morris "because they kept coming after us."
"Notre Dame," said Lindsey Goudy "because they were undefeated like us and it was a real close game."
Did their last opponent know they were going for an undefeated season.
"Maybe not before the game," said LaToya Wright, "but they know it now."
Any special pregame speech by Coach Rux?
"Not really," said Goudy. "But he told us to play with zest and vigor. We thought to ourselves, Like what? What does that mean?
Along with sounding like JFK, Mike Rux is the kind of basketball coach Galesburg should treasure. Incredibly loyal to both Evan Massey and the girls basketball program, Rux is in his 13th year and has helped make the basketball scene at Galesburg first-class with a website and weekly information to media outlets that is virtually unparalleled in the State when it comes to high school basketball. It also seems as if young girl basketball players in Galesburg look forward to playing for Mike Rux as much as they do for Evan Massey.
"It was quite an accomplishment," said Rux last Friday night before the Rock Island-Galesburg boys basketball game. "The response from the fans has been great and its really an honor for our team to do something like this."