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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Meadow Heights needs to have the NFHS verify the 36 3-pointers it sank in Friday's game against Marquand.

Meadow Heights boys basketball coach Tom Brown had not shied away in the past from stating his desire to set the state mark for 3-pointers in a game.

Whether the fifth-year Panthers coach ever thought his team could go for a national mark is another matter. But in front of a homecoming crowd Friday night, the Panthers did just that.

Meadow Heights hit 13 of its first 16 3-point attempts, and when the final buzzer sounded the Panthers had 36 3-pointers, destroying the old state mark of 24 they shared with Scott City. The Panthers also broke the national record.

"We really didn't even know what the national record was," Brown said. "We broke the state record with 1:26 left in the third quarter. After we hit that one, we hit one more in the quarter and 10 in the fourth quarter -- with a running clock, which is amazing in itself.

"One of the kids said, 'Let's see what we can do,' and we kept shooting. I couldn't believe it. It was something to see."

The previous national record, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, was 34, held by Juniata Valley High School of Alexandria, Pa., which was set on Jan. 16, 2002.

John Gillis, assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and editor of the National High School Sports Record Book, said pending the normal verification process Meadow Heights' 36 3-pointers would be the new national record.

"We never thought about having a national record, and now that we have it, it's weird," Brown said. "I honestly don't think it will ever be broken."

The Panthers attempted 75 3s in the game, making 48 percent of their attempts. The top two national marks for attempts in a game are both held by Juniata Valley, 94 and 86, respectively. According to Gillis, the 75 by Meadow Heights would rank third nationally.

Michael Collier led the team with eight 3-pointers, Terry Wagner had seven, Heath Fulton had six and Anthony Bollinger had five.

Brown said this group had set a goal to break the state record several years ago, and Friday night was a culmination of their hard work.

"They wanted it," he said. "We had T-shirts made two years ago which said, 'It will happen, you can count on it.'"

There still could be some question whether Meadow Heights' 36 3-pointers is a national record or not. According to a Web site titled "Count in Threes," the record is 42 set by Canterbury School. No state or city is listed for Canterbury, and no date is listed for the game in which the record was set.

Gillis said he had no knowledge of the supposed Canterbury mark.

Whether it was a national record or not, it does not take away from the Panthers' accomplishment.

"We'll never forget it," Brown said. "The gym was packed; it was homecoming. It's something you dream about, something special. I don't know how you can beat that."

The game on Friday was never in doubt, with the Panthers up 36-8 after one quarter. Meadow Heights went on to win the game 131-66. The Panthers, who average about 21 3-point attempts a game, made 16 in the first half. They shot only three two-point field goals in the second half.

While some may say Friday's game showed poor sportsmanship on Meadow Height's part, Brown pointed out Marquand attempted only 15 less field goals than Meadow Heights.

"We just hit our shots and they didn't," Brown said.

The Panthers are back in action tonight at Valle Catholic.

Steps to verify the national record

In order to verify the 3-point record set by Meadow Heights the school will be sent a form by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS).

The school will be expected to send the form, along with information, such as photocopies of the game book, to the Missouri State High School Acitivities Association.

Once the information is signed off by MSHSAA, it will be sent back to the NFHS. Once verified, the record will appear in the National High School Sports Record Book.

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