By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
The Pillsbury Doughboy made his appearance and Days of our Lives was broadcast on NBC television for the first time ever. The time was November 1965.
It was also the month and year of Pete Shouns debut as head basketball coach at Johnson County High School and the first game every played inside the new schools gymnasium.
Everyone was excited about moving into the new school but it didnt happen easily. The first official day of school that year was pushed up almost two weeks. And the football teams home opener had to be moved back down to the old school because the field wasnt ready by the first game.
Yet they had already hosted a wrestling event featuring Las Vegas showgirl Sherry Lee and Nevas Big Glen Church in it. Arthur Smith and the Cracker Jacks along with the Crossroads Quartet had sung there too.
The same thing almost cost basketball its first game. Coach Shoun remembered it well.
They hadnt had time to cut the big pipes off behind the goals so they hung down about two or three feet, said Shoun. We had to take foam rubber and cover them up before they would let us play.
Shoun recalled some details about the game and remembered the crowd as well.
University High didnt bring many fans but our side was full, said Shoun. And we had people sitting on the other side too.
It was a back and forth game the whole way.
UH was down 46-38 late but rallied to tie the game at 50-50 and sent it into overtime.
A free throw by Junior McQueen and Larry Naves basket allowed Johnson County to force a second overtime. Thats when the Horns found its unsung hero.
Luther Reece hadnt played much and wasnt expected to score. But he came in off the bench and tallied five points in the second overtime period including the game winner with .06 second remaining off a steal. Johnson County won 59-58.
We wouldnt have expected him to score a lot, but he played great that night, said Shoun about Reece. He did a great job in that game but we didnt have a really good year.
All that changed the following season. Shouns Longhorns defeated Newland High School with 72 center Tom Burleson. It was his biggest win as a head coach.
We werent supposed to beat them, said Shoun. I played Larry Nave who was 65 in front of Burleson and big John Payne (62, 220) behind him. He didnt weight but about 190 pounds. I think they about physically beat him to death the whole game. He got his points but Im not sure they called all the fouls either. Mark Bellamy and Dale Phillips played on that team. All of them played good that night.
Burleson went on to star at North Carolina State and led them to a National Championship in 1974. He played several seasons in the NBA before his knees forced him to retire.
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