Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sports Center Saturday-- High School Basketball State Champions

 High School Basketball State Champions

My senior year at Bent County High School our team won the State Class A Championship in the state tournament in Denver.  We were 10-6 in the regular season, winning four of those games by a total of five points.  We lost the District Tournament in the finals, so were the #2 seeded team from our District.  However, everything clicked at the State Tournament where we were the underdog in every one of the three games we played.    

High School Yearbook--1955
It was a good news/bad news tournament for me.  We won the state championship; but I tore the lateral ligaments in my left ankle in the semi-final game and, of course, missed the championship game.  

First State Tournament Game

The picture below was from the Denver Post the day following our team winning the championship.  I had surgery on the ankle the day of the championship; but listened to the game on the radio.   I was extremely lucky the injury happened in Denver because I had the two best orthopedic surgeons in Denver perform the operation. 

Rose Memorial Hospital--Denver
We Won State (without me)!

I was fortunate to be named to the State All-Star team despite missing the championship game.  Three of my teammates were also selected.

I was back playing baseball in May, just two months following the surgery and have been blessed not to have had any problems with that ankle since the surgery. 

Two years later my brother was a key player on the Bent County High School team that again won the State Basketball Class A Championship.

The following year at the University of Colorado I tried out for the basketball team as a "walk-on" along with about 120 other players.  About 7 players had been awarded scholarships and were assured of making the team.  The coaches selected 7 additional players for the freshman team.  I was fortunate to be one of those.  However, I was not good enough to move up to the varsity the next year.

I continued to play basketball during my early years in the Navy until I was in my early 30s.  Having played baseball, softball, basketball and football; there is no doubt in my mind, due to the constant moving and running, that basketball requires the most stamina and conditioning.