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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bobcat thrills in '61 and '62

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In what might be called ancient history for today's green-clad Bobcat basketball players (and I wonder how many of their parents were around -- come to think of it, they may have to go to a grandparent) but in the early 1960s, Thayer had a couple of fine basketball teams, coached by Bob Price.

Both the 1961 and 1962 teams won South Central Association championships, and that was back in the days when West Plains was in the league.

The 1960-61 team was the runner-up to state champion Lillis of Kansas City, a team that went undefeated that year.

The 1961-62 Bobcat team was equally as tough, losing only to the legendary "Hicks From The Sticks" Bradleyville team by one point on the Bradleyville court in regular-season play, and then getting knocked out of the playoffs at Houston, leaving them with only two losses.

Bradleyville went on to win the 1962 state championship and in one of the most memorable games ever played at the state tournament, defeated Santa Fe at Alma in the opening round in the old Brewer Field House at Columbia.

Here's the ironic part of the story.

Alma was coached by Jack Weber, an ex-Bobcat player and a 1950 Thayer High School graduate.

The game went back and forth and into overtime, with Bradleyville winning at the buzzer. The newspaper accounts described the crowd as limp after the game.

It was also said that the entire arena gave the Alma boys a standing ovation after the game for their valiant play.

Tragically, Jack Webber and his wife lost their lives in a car crash several years ago near their home in Independence.

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