Friday is last basketball game for St. Mary's High School - KCTV5

Packed crowd for final basketball game at St. Mary's High

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Greg Milota/KCTV Greg Milota/KCTV
Greg Milota/KCTV Greg Milota/KCTV
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

It's the end of an era. After more than 150 years, St. Mary's High School is closing at the end of the 2013 school year and the school's last home game brought in alumni young and old.

The four games held Friday night were a milestone, one that no one ever wanted to see.

The stands at St. Mary's High School were jammed with people in shirts that spell out how they feel about their connection to the place, many simply stating "Forever a Trojan."

"We all know each other, so when you go through here, it's just a tight-knit family. Always has been. Always will be," said Ray Myers, class of 1977.

Myers statement could be taken figuratively, but in the case of his 90-year-old mom, also literally.

"I have six kids and they all went through here," said Anna Myers, class of 1940.

Friday's were the last set of home basketball games the school will ever experience. After 160 years, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is closing the school due to declining enrollment.

"It's kind of an honor to be the last graduating class, but I feel bad for my junior friends and my sophomore friends because they don't get to experience the four years I had at St Mary's," said senior Ozzy Litchfield.

"It's heartbroken. All my family members came here so I was hoping I could come too," said Anthony Cooper, a seventh-grader.

Students had grown accustomed to the close-knit feeling and possibilities that comes from a place with only 102 kids, so the transition to other schools will be a challenge.

"Kids have an opportunity to play sports that they might not be able to in a larger school," said Susie Kenney, class of 1986.

Only two of Kenney's three kids will get to have a St. Mary's diploma, but she said they will all be Trojans forever.

White "Forever A Trojan" shirts were sold at the door. Alumnus Renee Smith said that her grandmother, who graduated from St. Mary's in 1940, came to watch her last game and was probably be the oldest in the stands.

The junior varsity game began at 4 p.m., the varsity girls game started around 6:30 p.m. and the varsity boys game began about 8 p.m.

Bishop Robert W. Finn wrote a letter about the school closing. Click here to read it.

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