San Diego High players weren’t thinking of tomorrow.
They were more interested in savoring a 27-24 victory at Coronado as the team boarded the ferry for the short ride back to the docking slip near Pacific Highway and Market Street.
The Cavers may even have been discussing the merits of crosstown rival Hoover’s 52-36 victory over Santa Ana the night before.
The time, about 10 p.m., Dec. 6, 1941.
Fourteen hours later, as reports began to reach the Pacific Coast of a Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, the game would be quickly forgotten.
Students and players from around San Diego County began to react to the chaotic events 2,500 miles away.
On Dec. 8, as written by Don King in Caver Conquest, King’s athletic history of San Diego High, “…many in the record 3,316 students brought radios to hear latest reports…most gathered in the gym and auditorium to hear President Roosevelt address Congress and declare war.”
King also noted:
–Twenty-four San Diego High students joined the military within 10 days of the attack.
–Dances and banquets were canceled.
–The school newspaper, the Russ, suggested that the campus, strategically located near crucial military facilities, was important in contingency planning in event of an enemy attack on San Diego.
–Principal John Aseltine urged students to remain calm amid (possible) exaggerated war reports and to continue their routine as much as possible.
–Students volunteered to serve as messengers, took postings at civilian defense facilities, provided child care for defense workers, cared for the elderly during blackouts, and worked tirelessly in the defense effort.
The situation probably was much the same at the area’s other educational institutions.
The County included 18 high schools:
Ermer Robinson (right), in 1948 game against George Mikan and Minneapolis Lakers, played 14 years with Harlem Globetrotters.
–San Diego, Hoover, Point Loma, La Jolla, and St. Augustine, in the city;
–Coronado, Sweetwater, Grossmont, Fallbrook, Oceanside, San Dieguito, Vista, Escondido, Ramona, Julian, and Mountain Empire, located in the outskirts and beyond;
–Two, private military schools, San Diego Army-Navy in Carlsbad and Brown Military in Pacific Beach.
All had basketball teams.
Universal travel and game restrictions had not yet been applied. Many schedules had been set, guarantees sometimes agreed to, and, in an attempt to continue as before, interscholastic sports went forward.
Most varsities played at least 12-15 games, plus there was another dozen or so by junior varsity, Bee, Cee, and D squads. A basketball fan would have a choice of more than 700 games on a three-month menu.
THE GAMES WENT ON
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