Dec 04 2008

’77 State Basketball Champs will be honored on Friday evening

Published by at 9:08 pm under basketball,mchs,State Championships

Photo by Steve Laminack, Madison Eagle

In case you don’t know, there will be a little ceremony in between the girl’s and boy’s varsity basketball games (against William Monroe) on Friday night to honor the members of the 1977 boy’s state championship basketball team.  77 was the year my wife and I graduated, Madison won the football state championship in ’76 and followed with the basketball state championship (not that we had anything to do with those wins..other than being there as fans).  Below is an excerpt from the Daily Progress article written by Mary Beth Donahue following Madison’s basketball win over J. J. Kelly in the championship game.  Unfortunately, we only have what was on B-1 of the sports section, the article was continued on B-8 and that page is missing.  But what is below is worth the read:

Mountaineers Add Basketball Crown

Strother, Styles, Young Lead Madison Past Kelly

For the second time this school year the Madison Mountaineers are the Group A state champions.  And for the faithful fans who have followed the Mounties to the football and now the basketball championships, the faces are the same; only the sport has been changed.
With 14 of the 15 basketball players also members of the 1976 football state champion team. (the 15th is a transfer student who was ineligible for football), the Mounties acted right at home in the Group A basketball finals at University Hall Saturday, routing Region D champions, J.J. Kelly, 83-58.
The Mountaineers, who finished the season with a 26-1 mark, losing only to Luray in the Skyline District finals, immediately took control in the lopsided affair, taking a never relinquished lead with the first basket and building a 40-24 cushion by intermission.
“We played in the first half as well as we’ve played all year,” said Madison coach Rick Spigone.  “We blew it open in the first half.”
With the Madison fans chanting “Mountaineers boogie,”  Spigone used all 15 of his players in the second half as Madison boogied to within three points of the tournament record for the most points scored in a single game (86, West Point, 1973) against a worn down Kelly team.
While Madison turned in a neat 56-48 win over King William Friday to advance to the finals, Kelly battled Parry McCluer through five overtimes before coming away with a 60-58 win.
“We didn’t have any spring in our legs at  all,” said Kelly coach James Goforth.  “That (the five overtimes) killed us last night (against Parry McCluer).
“They (the Mounties) just had too many good people,”  he added sadly.
Turning in what Spigone termed a “phenomenal” performance for the Mounties was junior guard Walter Strother, who led the team with 23 points, including 10 of 20 from the floor.
Nine of Madison’s 22 first quarter points were scored by Strother who was also credited with four steals and five assists in the game.
But Spigone gave the other starting guard, senior Mike Styles a large share of credit for the win.
“He (Styles) provided the leadership on the court,” said Spigone of the 6-0 point guard, who scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, stole the ball twice and contributed five assists in the game.  “He makes us go offensively and defensively.  The fact that we scored 83 points is largely a tribute to him.”
Styles also called the plays for the state championship football team, guiding them to a 12-1 season including a 21-13 win over Pennington Gap in the championship game at Scott Stadium.
The fresh Mountaineers stole the ball from the tired Indians 20 times in the game often capitalizing on the turnovers with layups.  The Indians had only six steals.
“We wanted to force the tempo of the game and get the ball up and down the court quickly,” said Spigone.  “We have more depth than they do and I think it took its toll in the second half.”
The Indians lack of depth and the strain of the semifinal game showed well before the second half as Kelly relied heavily on the outside scoring punch of Steve Niece.
The senior scored 13 of his 25 points in the second half from the wings as the rest of the Indians dragged.
The Indians, who finished the season with a 22-9 record, also got 13 points from Charles Beverly, who also hit most often from the wings.
Both teams connected on 48 percent of their shots from the floor with Kelly getting six of 12 foul shots to Madison’s nine of 23.
A key in the game was Madison’s big men, Billy Cave, Aksel Falk and Keith Johnson, who out muscled the Indian’s front line, getting 46 rebounds to Kelly’s 30.

“The development of those three this year has made this a championship team,”

…and that’s all I have…

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