The 1915-16 McHenry Boy’s Basketball Team

Going into the 1915-16 basketball season, the boys McHenry High School team weren’t optimistic about their chances. The previous season, 1914-15, the team did very well, winning the McHenry County tournament. Yet, the team lost all but one of their players to graduation. However, just as important, Phillip Dorr was returning as the team’s coach. Well respected and liked by his players, Mr. Dorr knew how to get the best out of his players. McHenry was noted as being a fast team that was accurate in their shots. The team consisted of Alfred Richardson, Edward Bonslett, Lester Bacon, Henry Miller, and Frank Justen. Bonslett lead the team with 88 points scored during the year, with Alfred Richardson close behind with 84.

Landmark School, the home for McHenry High School students in 1916. Admission to games cost 25 cents.

The game everyone looked forward to was against their rivals in Dundee. The principal, E.C. Fisher of Dundee High School left McHenry for his position there and started a rivalry among the teams. McHenry was proud that they often won the games against Prof. Fisher. 1916 proved to be no different, as McHenry won 39-22. One of the more disappointing games was against Wheaton Academy. Wheaton boasted having some of the best players in the area and was looking at possibly making a run for the state title. Yet they only brought second-string players to take on McHenry. Mr. Dorr’s team won easily, 42-16, but were disappointed to not take on Wheaton’s finest. The largest offensive output for the season was against Wauconda, who were defeated by the score of 74-23. The end result was never in doubt, as McHenry was already leading 44-13 at the half. Wauconda was especially disappointed at the result, as they saw themselves as an up-and-coming team.

The team with their championship banner. At this point, the team was already wearing the traditional black and orange uniforms. Photo compliments of the 1916 high school yearbook.

The Basketball Team participated in two different championships during the course of the year. The first was in a statewide tournament, held in Rockford in February 1916. The McHenry boys lost in their first and only game to Byron High School. The second was the championship for McHenry County. McHenry faced off against Crystal Lake. The game was very close and it looked like McHenry was going to lose. However, in the last few seconds, McHenry scored a basket securing the win. For their efforts, the team was awarded a banner announcing their victory. The championship won by McHenry in 1916 was an impressive one. With almost a whole new team, the new group jelled and managed to win all of their games with only two exceptions. Coach Dorr did a fantastic job bringing the team together and leading the school on one of its greatest runs in the school’s history.


  • “Basket Ball Friday.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 9 Dec 1915, 1. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Their Third Victory.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 23 Dec 1915, 8. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Basket Ball Tonight.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 30 Dec 1915, 1. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “McHenry Highs Win.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 6 Jan 1916, 1. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “McHenry Highs Win and Lose.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 13 Jan 1916, 8. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Win At Lake Geneva.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 20 Jan 1916, 4. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Highs Win At Desplaines.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 3 Feb 1916, 8. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Runts Trim Woodstock.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 10 Feb 1916, 8. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Defeat Woodstock Again.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 17 Feb 1916, 8. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Highs Trounce Hebron.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 24 Feb 1916, 8. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “McHenry Highs Lose.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 2 Mar 1916, 1. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Highs Bump Wauconda.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 16 Mar 1916, 1. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Highs Win Two More.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 23 Mar 1916, 1. Web. 7 Mar 2022.
  • “Are County Champions.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 6 Apr 1916, 10. Web. 7 Mar 2022.