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Reunion brings 1955 Rock Hill team together

Greatness is never forgotten.

The most successful basketball team in Rock Hill High School history will be remembered once again with the 50th anniversary reunion Friday and Saturday honoring the 1955 team.

The team posted a 29-4 record and won the Lawrence County League championship and the county tournament.

Actually, the team could have had an even greater season had it not been struck by bad luck. Three starters came down with the flu during the sectional tournament and the team was eliminated from play.

"We could have won the state championship, but we had to play the sectional with two starters and three reserves. We were ravaged by the flu," said Scott.

Rock Hill began in 1950 as a consolidation of Kitts Hill, Hanging Rock and Pedro high schools. However, Scott said the 1955 Rock Hill school had just 93 boys and more than 300 girls because many of the boys went to Windsor High School.

The five starters for Rock Hill in 1955 had Danny Townsend at guard, Bill Brown at forward, Vernon Scott at forward, Paul Kegley at shooting guard and John Scott was the center.

John and Vernon Scott were brothers. John Scott and Townsend played together dating back to the fifth grade.

The 1955 team benefited from the basketball emphasis enjoyed at Kitts Hill where the only sport offered to boys was basketball. Of the 10 team members in 1955, eight were from the Kitts Hill district.

"When school started, they threw you a basketball and when school ended they picked them up," Scott said with a chuckle.

The 1955 team won 15 games in a row during one stretch, then went 3-2 in the county tournament which was a double elimination event in that era.

Rock Hill began the tournament with a win over St. Joseph. Next came a win over South Point but then the Redmen lost to Chesapeake. Rock Hill then beat South Point and Chesapeake to force a showdown for the tournament title and Chesapeake came away with the win.

Both Rock Hill and Chesapeake advanced to the sectional tournament, but Rock Hill struggled with the flu and lost by nine points to McDermott.

There were only two classification - A and B - prior to the 1960s.

Ironically, the same group of boys who had the best basketball record had the school's only unbeaten football team.

"In the first five years, we had the best basketball team and the best football team we've ever had in school history," Scott said.

A two-day reunion will honor the team as they meet at 6 p.m. Friday at the Grandview Inn in South Point and at the Rock Hill Middle School at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

John Scott said all five starters are expected to attend the reunion along with other players such as Ronny Baldwin and Larry Ferguson and manager Clyde Matthew.

Also on display the reunion will be throwback jerseys, photographs and newspaper clippings from the team's season.