1959 Highland County Basketball Tournament
Friday, March 17, 2017 1:53 AM
(Continued from last week.)
With only 14 seconds left on the game clock in the 1959 Highland County Basketball Tournament, Buford held a slim 46-43 lead over Fairfield.
Fairfield finally got the ball inside to Starrett, who clanged one off the rim with four seconds remaining. Buford rebounded the missed shot as the final buzzer signaled the end of the game: Buford 46, Fairfield 43.
The Bulldogs would meet Lynchburg in the 1959 title game Saturday night.
Buford coach Chet Miller and his squad had done a remarkable job in getting to the final round of this tournament.
On the opening night of the tourney, the Bulldogs had slipped by Fairfield by two points, 53-51. The next night, they were edged by Whiteoak by two points, 48-46. Then, the scrappy Bulldogs inched by tough Sinking Spring by two points, 50-48. In the semifinal round they defeated Fairfield, 46-43.
Now came the championship game with rugged Lynchburg.
Lynchburg defeated Buford on Saturday night by a score of 59-47 to take the 1959 Highland County Tournament championship. The Bobcats ended their season with a final record of 20-2, including tournament games. Lynchburg led at the end of the first quarter by a score of 9-8 and at halftime, 24-17.
The Bobcats tallied 20 points in the third stanza to move out to a 44-28 margin after three quarters. But the battling Buford squad rallied in the final eight minutes, outscoring the Bobcats 19-15 in the final period. The mountain was a little too high this time, and the game Bulldogs were not able to pull it off.
Lynchburg took the championship. Buford took second place and Fairfield third place. Lynchburg and Buford would represent Highland County in the sectional tournament at Piketon.
Minzler and Young scored 18 points each to lead Lynchburg. Buford’s scoring was balanced. Galliett totaled 14, Purdy scored 10, Louderback and Moberly posted nine each.
After the championship game, the All-County teams were named.
The first team included (in the order in which they were selected): Roger Huffman (Sinking Spring), Jim Luck (Lynchburg), Glenn Moberly (Buford), John Minzler (Lynchburg) and Jack Richey (Whiteoak). Richey was a junior. All the others were seniors.
The second team included: Leon Stivers (Whiteoak), Bill Shaw (Marshall), Dale Wright (Fairfield), Tom Starrett (Fairfield) and Dick Galliett (Buford). Shaw and Starrett were juniors. Stivers, Wright and Galliett were seniors.
Named to the Honorable Mention list were: Dick Baker (Fairfield), John Branham (Lynchburg), Bill Brewer (Fairfield), Bill Garman (Sinking Spring) and Jim Farquar (Buford). Branham, Garman and Farquar were juniors. Baker and Brewer were seniors.
Buford drew Stockdale of Pike County in the sectional tournament at Piketon.
Stockdale had enjoyed a highly successful season and was ranked 18th in the state. They featured one of the top guards on southern Ohio. Oddsmakers gave the Bulldogs little chance of beating Stockdale. But people had a way of underrating the scarlet-and-gray.
Chet Miller told me this interesting story. “I knew nothing about Stockdale, other than that they had beaten some very good teams. So, I called my old friend, Kenny Thompson, who was a longtime coach and was now the county superintendent in Pike County.”
“What can you tell me about Stockdale?” Miller asked him. “Well,” he said, “They are pretty much a one-man team, but that one man can score 40 points if you let him have open shots.”
“Is there any way we can contain him?” Miller asked.
“He is a spot shooter.” Thompson said. “You just can’t let him set up and shoot. But he doesn’t shoot nearly as well off the dribble. If you guard him closely and force him to shoot off the dribble, you may be able to hold him down to some extent.”
Miller had nearly a week to practice prior to the big game. He worked hard on keeping a defensive man practically nose-to-nose with the kid.
(Continued next week.)
Bob Patton is a Highland County sports historian and a contributing writer to The Highland County Press.