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JIM: Basketball tournaments bring memory of great teams past

Remember this great Lindsey Wilson Team?: Misses Zora Edna Bell and Gladys Fraser, forwards; Misses Vivian Long and Iva Lewis, guards; Miss Ethel Garnett, center; and Misses Ruth Hill and Bessie Stockton. Or this powerhouse Columbia High School Redhounds outfit: Allen Mercer, Earl Blair, Morris Epperson, Marvin Sinclair, and Frank Callison. They made Adair County basketball history 90 years ago. It's all right here, in Jim's account. He ought to have been a sports writer


With basketball tournaments in full swing, a look back at three games of yore as reported in the News ninety years ago today -- March 7, 1922 -- seems in order.

In the spring of 1922, Lindsey Wilson was still a training (that is, college prep) and normal (teacher education) school; junior college status was still a year and half away. Also in this era, rules and regulations for sports were considerably more relaxed than today, as evidenced by the first article, headlined "An Unselfish Spirit."

On Saturday, March 3rd, the Columbia High School boys team and the Lindsey Wilson girls team traveled to Taylor County to engage the respective Campbellsville teams "for credentials to go to Lexington...and play for honors in the district tournament."

Upon its arrival that afternoon, however, the Columbia High team found itself plunged into the Slough of Despond. Only two teams had entered the tournament, and, remarked the News, "This made it impossible to play and destroyed their hopes of going to Lexington, as the rules of the association required at least three teams to contest."

But not to despair! Help was at hand in the guise of the lads of Arbor Vitae. A number of young gentlemen from Lindsey Wilson had accompanied the girls team, and upon learning of the quandary, valiantly threw themselves into the fray of hoops and hardwood. Stated the News:

They hurriedly got five boys together, regardless of the fact whether or not they could play ball, donned the High School boys' uniforms and played Campbellsville so that the home boys might have an opportunity to beat that same team and thus win the district tournament.

(Quite mercifully, the score of this game didn't appear in the paper, but one suspects the outcome might charitably be categorized as a thrashing.)

While the Campbellsville boys catch their breath for their tilt with the Columbia quintet, let us turn our attention to the girls game. The opening paragraph of the article deserves a place in the sports reporting hall of fame:

In a basketball game said to have been probably the most thrilling one ever played upon the Campbellsville floor, the girls composing the fast team of Lindsey-Wilson defeated the girls of Campbellsville High School whose colors up to this time had not bowed before defeat.

The girls from Lindsey hill -- Misses Zora Edna Bell and Gladys Fraser, forwards; Misses Vivian Long and Iva Lewis, guards; Miss Ethel Garnett, center; and Misses Ruth Hill and Bessie Stockton, reserves -- put on a roundball exhibition not soon to be forgotten. The first half, a nip and tuck defensive affair, ended with the Columbians up by a score of 4-3, thanks to field goals by the Misses Garnett and Fraser. Scoring ran rampant in the second half with each team tallying six points. Miss Garnett scored a field goal and Miss Bell added a deuce and a "foul pitch." Miss Fraser iced the cake with a free throw, and the Lindsey team came away with a hard fought 10-9 victory.

Said the News, in the sportsmanlike style of the day, "As a town we are proud of these young ladies, and at the same time, we congratulate the young ladies of Taylor County upon their ability to play this splendid team to such a close score."

The Campbellsville High-Columbia High boys' game was whistled at 7:30. The article noted that before the contest began, the C-ville five and its supporters were certain of victory. However, the Columbia hoopsters and their entourage -- some sixty Adair Countians who had made the trek to Taylor -- were equally confident of "knocking the plum." With Messrs. Allen Mercer, Earl Blair, Morris Epperson, Marvin Sinclair, and Frank Callison on the floor, could there be any doubt?

Continued the News, "Columbia took the lead and held it to the end...All during the game enthusiasm ran high, the Columbia backers seeing that our home boys were out for meat and they got it." By game's end, the plum had been knocked in impressive fashion, Campbellsville coming up on the short end of the score, 39-20.

Having handily won that contest, the Columbia boys "returned home in high spirits" and anticipated leaving for Lexington on Thursday, March 8th, in the same fine fettle. Predicted the hometown paper, "the club that attempts to defeat them at Lexington will know that it was in a game."

This story was posted on 2012-03-08 00:14:40
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