The selection of the 1978-79 girls basketball team marks the first time a girls team has been chosen for induction into the Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Not only does the team hold that distinction, it also holds the honor of being the only Salem basketball team (both boys and girls) to go through a regular season undefeated. That team, which was coached by Jim Koehler, posted a 23-0 regular season mark. The Lady Wildcats’ North Egypt Conference championship that season was the only one for the program until the 1998-99 Salem girls team accomplished the trick.

The Lady Wildcats earned their conference championship by winning three games at the NEC Tournament at Lawrenceville. Salem defeated Mt. Carmel 79-47 in the opening round, Red Hill 80-48 in the semifinal round and Lawrenceville 73-51 in the championship game. Marla Sapp scored 37 points and Carla Haney added 16 in that championship game victory.

An unbeaten regular season was secured with a 94-81 win over Olney behind 38 points from Sapp, 18 from Haney, and 17 from Diane Beasley.

An additional regular season accomplishment for this team came at the Newton Tournament where Salem beat top-seeded Mattoon 53-38 for the championship.

In postseason play at the Centralia Regional, Salem crushed Nashville 106-33 in the opening round.

Salem lost in the regional championship game to Centralia 70-64, a team it had beaten in the regular season. Despite that setback, its 24-1 overall mark is still a school best (boys or girls) .960 winning percentage.

Three females have been previously inducted into the Hall of Fame and two of those three played on the 1978-79 team, Sapp and Haney. Both players were NEC First Team selections. Haney surpassed the 1000 career points late in the regular season when she pumped in 32 in a 78-60 win over Newton. Sapp, just a sophomore that year, went on to eclipse more than 2000 career points. Beasley received NEC Honorable Mention.

The other regular faces in the starting lineup were Marcea Hartwell and Lori Beckham. Sheena Young was often one of the first players off the bench.