Tidbits - March 5, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



GREAT SEASON!

  The season for the Saluda girls basketball team came to an end in the AA Upper State championship game at the Bon Secours Arena in Greenville Saturday.
  The Tigers fell to defending state champion Christ Church.
My brother Jamie and I were going,
  I got up, showered, got dressed, including my football state championship hoodie. It was after I got dressed that I checked my phone, and got a text from Jamie, saying he couldn’t go. The driver of the bus for the colorguard to go to a competition in Easley fell through, so Jamie had to drive the bus.
  There I was all dressed up with nowhere to go.
  I started to get in my car and go by myself. I had already talked to Amy Scott Boozer of the high school league earlier in the week, and she told me about parking and credentials.
  But, I decided to keep up with the game on the internet, instead. I kept my hoodie on all day.
  When I saw the Tigers would have to play Christ Church, I knew it would be an uphill battle. The Crusaders have won five state championships since 2009, including three of the last four.
  Like Southside Christian, the team Saluda played in football, and then in the girls and  boys basketball playoffs, Christ Church is a private school.
  That means the school enrollment is not confined to boundaries, like public schools.
  The AD at Southside Christian told us his school did not recruit athletes, and the tuition was $14,000 a year.
  Turns out that is a bargain. Christ Church’s tuition is $21,800 per year.
  Whether these schools give athletic scholarships or not, they have a metro area of 750,000 of which to find good athletes who might want to attend their school.
  Saluda and most of the AA schools has the boundaries of their district.
  Christ Church is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, and Southside Christian was established Southside Baptist Church.
  Then, there is Gray Collegiate, a charter school in West Columbia.
  Gray does recruit from all over the state and is favored to win the boys’ AA state championship again.
  Someone wrote to the High School League on Twitter: “Sooner or later you guys are going to get tired of seeing an All-Star team ruin an entire classification. You are robbing small schools who play from their community of chances to win the Championship.”
  As many of you know, Saluda will be in the same conference with Gray next year. When we were them the last time, they had a basketball team with a UNC recruit, and a couple of 6-10 guys thrown in for good measure. Keenan, a perennial power, was also in the conference then. Keenan has moved up to 3A, so Gray will be highly favored to win it all next year, too.
  Bishop England a Catholic school in Charleston has won numerous state championships in many different sports. Christ Church has won 101 state championships in it history.
  When I was in high school, Saluda was in the same conference with Cardinal Newman, a private Catholic School, on several occasions.. They killed us in basketball.
  So, this is not new.
  It took four tries, but Saluda’s football team finally beat Southside Christian in football en route to the state title this year. SSC is moving down to 1A next year, so we won’t have to worry about the Sabres.
  Coach Jeanette Ergle Wilder’s Tigers will have most of the players back from a 20-2 team. Christ Church will remain and 2A, so that’s the rematch to shoot for.

HISTORY MAKERS

  Saturday was just the fourth time a Saluda High girls  basketball has made it to the upper or lower state championship game.
  The 1953 team won the Upper State title, but lost the state championship the following week. That team had family pride for me,, because  my late aunt, Kay Killingsworth Parris, was captain of that team.
  In 1963 Kay coached the Fairforest High team to the state championship game. It was played in the old Carolina Field House, and I remember going to that game. I thought that 3200 seat gym was tremendous. Unfortunately, Kay didn’t win the title in this one, either, She would go on to be the first girls’ coach at Dorman High School.
  It took 36-years, but Saluda made it back to the semi-finals in 1988-89. Hall of Fame Coach Patsy Rhodes coached that team. The Tigerettes lost in the Lower State Championship game. The next year, Rhodes coached this back to the Lower State game, and that, too, was a loss.
  It took 30-years for Saluda to make it back in 2020. Tiger Coach Jeanette Wilder played for Patsy when she was a student at SHS.
  The current Saluda High is a combination of Saluda, Hollywood and Riverside High School. Hollywood and Riverside had some outstanding girls teams.
 Hollywood won seven state championships in the 1940s and 50s under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Mac Quattlebaum. At onetime the Hornets won 92 games in a row.
  In 1965, the Riverside girls team, coached by Alice Pyatt, was state runner-up.

JUST SHOOT

  It’s been a miserable year for the major men’s sports at Carolina.
  The football team finished 4-8, the basketball team is up and down, and the baseball team lost a series to a Big 10 school, Northwestern, and  went 1-2 against Clemson over the weekend.
  One of the most embarrassing stats belongs to the men’s basketball team. Over 350 major college men’s teams, the University of South Carolina ranks 345th in free throw percentage.
The Gamecocks have won 17 games. If they could shoot free throws, they’d have at least 20 wins and be in the “bubble” talk.
  Frank Martin should be embarrassed for recruiting that many players who can’t shoot free throws.
  When I was in high school our coach had a drill that he used at least once a week. At the end of practice, each player had to make five free throws in a row before he could head to the dressing room. You missed, you’d started over.
  We didn’t win a lot of games, but we rarely missed free throws.
  Obviously, Martin doesn’t devote much time to coaching free throw shooting.
  Too, bad.

SADDENED

  Saluda County lost two citizens last week who devoted their lives to agriculture.
  Marjory Mills and her late husband Fred made MarFred Farms one of the top dairies in the country.
  David Padgett devoted many years of service on the county Soil & Water Conservation Commission.
  David was also a former Saluda High football player, who enjoyed watching the state champions play this year.
  Mrs. Marjory and David will be greatly missed.