Admiral King High School 1985-86 Basketball Team
(Enshrined in 2017)
The 1985-86 Admiral King Boys basketball team is the only Lorain County team ever to defeat a nationally ranked team. The Admirals shocked USA Today’s No. 22 ranked Cleveland St. Joe’s in the finals of the Division I regionals at Kent State, 51-44. St. Joe’s featured future Ohio State star, 6’7” Treg Lee along with 6’10” Eric Riley who would go on to stardom at the University of Michigan and in the NBA. Riley, the second round pick of the Dallas Mavericks, was held to seven points by the Mitch Gillam devised King defense.
St. Joe’s was one of four highly rated teams that King had to defeat in order to advance to the state tournament. Southview, Westlake and Toledo Scott were also ranked in the top 20 of the state by The Associated Press. In the district win over Southview, the 8th in the state Admirals overcame a 34-24 halftime deficit to pull out a 67-58 victory over the 7th ranked Saints. Then in the regional semi-finals, King ousted Toledo Scott, featuring future Detroit Piston Melvin Newbern, 54-51. Following the nationally resounding win over St. Joe’s in the regional finals, the Admirals gave Columbus South a tough battle before falling, 55-46, at state.
The Admirals memorable season was led by Lebron Gladden, who was First-Team All-Ohio at King and went on to become a three-time Division II College All-American at Ashland University. Gladden, Derrick Thomas and David Cannon were first-team All-Buckeye Conference and All-Lorain County while Tyrone Jeter, George McCall and Mike Carrico were also accorded honors on those teams. Kelvin Harvey was also a major contributor. Sophomore Harold Walton was elevated from JV’s to the varsity at the end of the regular season and hit 9 of 11 free throws in the huge win over St. Joe’s. Walton and the much-honored Mitch Gillam are both Lorain Sports Hall of Fame enshrines. Gillam was coach of this amazing 23-4 State Final Four team.