Marie Boyd Eichler, 1905-1991
Marie Boyd Eichler
It was February 25, 1924 and the six-girl basketball team of Lonaconing Central High School was going up against Ursuline Academy of Cumberland. Lonaconing would go on to win by the lop-sided score of 163 to 3.
Central’s Marie Boyd would go into the Guinness Book of World Records for scoring 156 points in the game. She is still listed first in the National High School Sports Record Book for most points scored and field goals made (77) in a single six-girl basketball game.
Upon graduation Marie was offered an opportunity to play on a women’s professional basketball team as well as attend college in Massachusetts. She chose instead to attend Maryland Teacher’s College and taught in New Jersey where she eventually opened and became the headmistress of a country day school.
Marie was inducted into the Lonaconing Hall of Fame on June 17, 1972.
Marie Boyd Eichler is also listed on the website Women Basketball Pioneers. She is identified as the top scorer on the list of "First Women 100 Point Scorers" during the "Six-on-Six" era, as well as holding the "Six-on-Six National One Game Scoring Record".
Below are two newspaper articles, fifty-six years apart. They show that Marie Boyd Eichler was a real scrapper both on, and off the court. Read the account below of a Prohibition era 1926 saloon raid in Lonaconing, followed by a 1982 interview with the "mild-mannered headmistress of a country day school."
5 HELD IN LONACONING RIOTING DURING RAIDS
Dry Agent Attacked, Evidence Destroyed,
Court Hears Case - Bail Set
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 17, 1926
Cumberland, MD., Aug. 16-(Special.) - Hearing of Lonaconing riot cases in connection with saloon raids there July 21 and the charge of assault on Dry Agent William R. Harvey on July 26 in Barton was held this afternoon before United States Commissioner Thomas J. Anderson. United States District Attorney Amos W. W. Woodcock appeared in behalf of the government.
In connection with the raid on the Boyd saloon at Lonaconing, Mrs. Agnes Boyd, her daughter, Marie Boyd; Samuel Nightingale, Harry Wilkes and Harvey Robertson were held in $1,000 each for Federal court in September on charges of destroying evidence and interfering with the raiders. Alexander Boyd was dismissed on this charge but he was held in $1,000 on a charge of possession of liquor and $2,000 for assault on Harvey while the latter was calling at the home of Miss Mildred Andrews, Barton. Boyd claimed Harvey had struck Boyd's mother in the raid the previous night, and he sought the officer at Barton.
In his testimony today Harvey denied having struck Mrs. Boyd. He said, he simply pushed her away when she attempted to attack him. Harvey told how the women attacked him and someone threw a glass globe containing about a "peck of pretzels" at him. The globe missed him and crashed through a glass. Samuel Nightingale was held for sale of liquor at the Boyd saloon.
HEADMISTRESS STILL HOLDS RECORD FOR MOST POINTS
The Gadsden Times, Gadsden, Alabama, February 14, 1982
Rockleigh, N.J. (AP) -Marie Boyd Eichler returns each year to a small Maryland town, to bask in the glory she earned on the basketball court a half century ago.
The mild-mannered headmistress of a country day school here, she is known in Lonaconing, Md., as the high school girl who, on Feb. 25, 1924, poured 77 baskets and two free throws into a single game for a 156-point performance that's never been equaled.
Few of Eichler's students know of her remarkable feat.
"See, I never talk about this," she said and as she sat primly on a stuffed chair. Her sister, Agnes, was poking a crackling fire in the drawing room of their clapboard-and-stone house.
"I never tell anybody these things about myself," she continued. "I could be in a group, and I never discuss it. I never say, 'Oh I hold the world's record.' It would be embarrassing."
But the modesty fades whenever Eichler goes to the Lonaconing hall of fame banquet, where she is surrounded by children eager to get her autograph and hear the story of how, as 5-foot 7 Central High School forward, she eclipsed arch-rival Sarah Hawes of Frostburg's Beall High School.
A few days after Hawes had a 95-point night the miffed Central High girls decided they would not be outdone. So they worked on a pattern for their next game, against Cumberland's Ursuline Academy, that would make Marie Boyd the undisputed scoring queen of western Maryland.
Henry "Doc" Hodgson, coach of the Central High girls, came up with the strategy: The center taps the ball to side center, who passes it to Boyd under the basket for the shot.
In those days, a girls' team was comprised of three forwards and three guards. Only the forwards could shoot, and only within narrowly designated areas of the court.
"We knew we could work it against Ursuline, because we had a decided advantage in height," Hodgson, now dead, said in an interview 30 years ago. "The day before our game with Ursuline we worked on nothing but a tipoff play."
The strategy worked. Central High rolled past, Ursaline 163-3 and no one - male or female - has ever scored more points in a basketball game than Marie Boyd.
Upon graduation, Eichler spurned both an offer by a short-lived women's professional basketball team - the All American Redheads-as well as an opportunity to get a physical education degree at a Massachusetts college. She chose, instead, a Maryland teachers college.
"It was just a period," said Eichler. She moved to New Jersey in 1931 and taught in Bergen County public schools until opening the day school with her sister, who was a sportswriter for the Central High School newspaper.
"I just didn't follow up. I did the other things I wanted to do. I did a little golfing, tennis. I never stayed with anything."
When Cheryl Miller of Riverside, Calif., Poly High School scored 105 points in 179-15 victory three weeks ago, national television and newspapers across the country recorded the accomplishment.
In 1924, elation over Eichler's feat was limited to Lonaconing.
"The town folks were all happy," she recalled. "They (national media) didn't give any recognition. It was just the rivalry and sportsmanship in the towns that belonged to the league.
"It would have been fine if they just ended it there, and I would have been through with all this. Let her (another athlete) be it. I couldn't care. I've lived on the story of it long enough. Let someone else-if she can."
Marie Boyd Eichler still holds the record for the most points scored in a girls' basketball game. Mrs. Eichler, 58 racked up 156 points to lead her Central High School team to victory.
Text - Albert Feldstein, from “The Ballad of Danny Heater” by Paul Hendrickson, Washington Post, March 13, 1991.
To see a story from the Heritage Weekly of 6-11-1977 click on the PDF.
See also National High School Sports Record Book, 2009
Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.
Allegany County, (Md.)