2009-03-19 / Letters

Forbes '69 Team Winners On And Off Court

To The Editor:

First, I want to congratulate Kayla Bennett on the McKelvey Scholarship. Well done indeed.

Second, to Susan Martz Mumma and Edison Mumma, congratulations on Emily making the dean's list.

I noted that on March 13, 1969, Forbes let school out early so folks could journey to the War Memorial to watch us play Laurel Valley in our quest for a state championship. I remember that game very well. At the opening jump ball, they had a player stop and put up a long one that went right through the hoop, as I recall, never even touching the net. From then on it was downhill for us, but we did try.

To even get there we had to beat Shanksville. They had a guy named Owen Long, and I forget what he was averaging per game, but I remember in the prestart huddle coach Cover saying we were going man-to-man, and I was assigned Owen Long. I remember thinking to myself "Coach is nuts!" putting the worst man-to-man defender he had on their best player. I could play 2-1-2 zone or 1-2-2 zone all day long, but man-to-man was not my forte. But early in the game I swatted the ball away from Owen, so I thought, "This guy is not so hot after all." But then Owen started going to town. We won that game 71-70, and Owen had, as I recall, 58 of their 70 points. I ended up sitting that game out on the bench after some faux pas, and that was just fine with me. As I recall, Marty Brown came in for me.

We felt bad losing to Laurel Valley, but for me I knew I was in trouble right away on warm-ups because it was one of those temporary floors you bring in and the ball made an odd thunk as you tried to dribble it. The ball was bouncing perfectly, but for me it seemed like every time it hit the floor, it was not going to come back to me, and I never was much of a ball handler anyway. My forte was rebounding and getting the fast break started. You see, I learned early on two vital things in basketball: First of all, when you have the ball everyone else on the other team wants it, so you need to get rid of it, and by mastering the full-court pass, we could score, and I did not have to run all the way down to the other end of the court, at least many times I did not have to, so I could just drop back to the corner on defense. Economy of motion was my watchword, and to this day I threw some full courts that I have no idea how the guys caught them, but they did.

We had a great team that year, myself excluded - Rick Chilcote, Craig Cutchall, Jim Hall and Charles Clippinger, and then me. It was a pleasure to play with all those guys. And they all pretty much stayed in the area, where they have made their own contributions to life in Fulton and surrounding counties.

So even though we lost to Laurel Valley that night, we are all still winners in the bigger game of life. Thanks, guys, for the memories - and to all the other guys on the team who made practices to me much more fun than the games!

We had a blast.

I think that year Laurel Valley did go on to win the state championship.

Dennis Mosebey

Class of 69 Forbes Road High School

Emporia, Kan.

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