Butch reviews top scorers
By Butch Dale
As basketball in Montgomery County passed through the Depression and WWII years, the style of play evolved from primarily a slow-moving “strategy” game into more of a “run and gun” type of offense. One of the reasons for this change was the development of the one-handed moving jump shot, rather than the two-handed set shot. As the faster-moving action and scores increased, the fans began to sense the importance of the kid who could pour the points through the basket. Within a few years, player scoring averages of 20 points per game began to be commonplace.
Little kids often idolized the varsity ballplayers, and youngsters would imitate the shooting style of the top scorers. When I was in the 6th grade, my brother and I cut the sleeves from our T-shirts, and wrote the number 41, Winston Wilson’s jersey number, on the front and back. And we knew exactly his “routine” for shooting free throws . . . and how he placed his hands on the ball. I checked the box scores in the paper after each game and kept tab on the statistics for each player all through the season.
Even if a team was having a mediocre season, great shooters on a team made the contests more interesting to watch. During the “modern era” (from 1950-71), Waveland produced the county scoring champion eight times . . . Keith and Bill Greve contributing four of those crowns in the early 1950s. Alamo claimed four individual scoring titles from 1956 to 1959 . . . thanks to Charlie Bowerman and Whitey Reath. The only other double winner was Daryl Warren, who topped the list in 1970 and 1971. Daryl also holds the all-time career scoring record with 2,083 points during his four years at Linden. Bill Greve had the highest average for a season in 1955 at 30.4 points per game. The all-time single game mark is believed to have been 51 points by Waveland’s Mike Mitchell in 1968.
Shown below are Montgomery County’s “small school” leading scorers from 1950-71
- 1950 Keith Greve (Waveland) 17.4
- 1951 Keith Greve (Waveland) 19.4
- 1952 Bill Wheeler (Waveland) 21.0
- 1953 Gary Smith (Wingate) 21.3
- 1954 Bill Greve (Waveland) 27.8
- 1955 Bill Greve (Waveland) 30.4
- 1956 Charlie Bowerman (Alamo) 21.6
- 1957 Charlie Bowerman (Alamo) 27.0
- 1958 Whitey Reath (Alamo) 23.2
- 1959 Whitey Reath (Alamo) 23.7
- 1960 Mike Whitecotton (New Ross) 19.7
- 1961 Winston Wilson (Darlington) 19.8
- 1962 Steve Pierce (Waynetown) 22.3
- 1963 Jerry Gick (Darlington) 20.6
- 1964 Don Evans (Waveland) 21.3
- 1965 Duane Miller (Waveland) 19.2
- 1966 Butch Dale (Darlington) 19.8
- 1967 Lee Fouts (Coal Creek) 22.6
- 1968 Mike Mitchell (Waveland) 27.8
- 1969 Rick Haas (Coal Creek) 21.9
- 1970 Daryl Warren (Linden) 29.7
- 1971 Daryl Warren (Linden) 29.0
And here are some players who averaged over 20 points per game, but did
not lead the county, as another played topped them that year: Dave Horney (Bowers, 1955), Bob Mullen (Darlington, 1958), Mike Stewart (New Ross, 1959), Dick Shull (Coal Creek, 1959), Tom Todd (Ladoga,1964), Phil Myers (Waveland,1967), Don Threlkeld (Darlington,1969), Dave Williamson (Ladoga, 1970), Rich Douglas (Darlington, 1970), Terry Cain (Darlington, 1971), Tim Slauter (Coal Creek, 1971) and Tom Deck (New Market,1971)
To become a top scorer, you of course needed some ability. You also needed confidence in yourself and the ability to get open. But even more importantly, you needed unselfish teammates who could get the ball to you. In looking at these scoring averages through the years, I often wonder what the averages might have been if there had been 3-point shots back in the good ‘ol days!
John “Butch” Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.