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Posted June 13, 2023

A History of OSL Basketball

The OSL Falcons began at the founding of the school in 1942, but its rise to national powerhouse started in the 1970s. Under the famed Coach George Booker, for whom our basketball court is named and who coached at the school for nineteen years, the basketball program became a powerhouse in New York City. From 1972 to 1991, Coach Booker compiled a record of 318-63 and led the Falcons to three New York State Federation championships in 1981, 1983 and 1987. The alumni from those famed teams include Anthel Hicks (Barry University), Danny Tirado (Jacksonville University), Tony Hargraves (Iona College), Arnold Bernard (Southwest Missouri State University), Jamaal Womack (St. Francis College), Nick Murphy and Justin Burrell (St. John’s University).

In the 2000’s, under alumnus Oswald Cross, the Falcons played against major high school programs such as Winchendon Prep (MA), South Kent Prep (CT), St. Thomas Moore, Crenshaw (CT), Paterson Catholic (NJ), and Oak Hill Academy (VA).

In 2007, we made the difficult decision to downgrade the basketball program, due to financial constraints and the economic downturn throughout the country. Sadly, many of our promising players could not afford to pay the school’s tuition. Thankfully, through the hard work of our current Head Coach (and Director of Programs), Peter Wehye, our athletic programs are now at the strongest point in our school’s rich history.

Currently, our school features four major basketball programs, featuring our student-athletes in a variety of leagues. The OSL Varsity Team plays against many schools in the New York City Charter School Athletic Association, a great opportunity for our younger student-athletes. The OSL Regional Team plays in the Power 5AA Conference, allowing them to be showcased against some of the best talent in the region. The OSL Prep Team will make their debut in the Great Atlantic Conference, featuring some of the stronger teams in the Northeast. The OSL National Team, lead by Coach Wehye, plays on the international level in the Grind Session, playing top talent from throughout the United States and beyond. In the 2021-2022 season, the OSL National Team achieved greatness, winning the 2022 Grind Session World Championship!

While young men’s basketball is the current feature program for athletics at Our Saviour Lutheran School, the current plan is to expand the athletic programming over the next number of years. A young women’s basketball team will join the fold in the near future, as well as additional sports making their return following the COVID-19 Pandemic – namely soccer and track & field. As the athletic programming continues to grow, the students of our school are continually cared for in a holistic manner, allowing them to grow and develop as those who are loved by God and sharing God’s love with one another.

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