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55 years after hoops championship

Adrenaline fades; memories remain

Staff writer

Imagine the year is 1963 — 55 years ago. Shoes squeak on the court and sweat flies as Peabody High School takes on Hill City in the Class B state high school championship game, each team having something to prove.

It’s Hill City’s first year in the division after dropping from Class A. Peabody comes with vengeance after a long battle to the championship game a year before ended with a loss to Melvern.

The score has been close the entire game, with Peabody leading by a few points.

The crowd is crazy, and with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, Hill City pulls ahead, 49-48.

Peabody coach Cal Reimer calls a timeout and huddles his boys, calling a play they’ve done a million times during their intense practices.

The referee blows the whistle, and the last precious seconds of the game begin as the players’ hearts race.

Peabody player Bob Stuckey drives for a layup and scores. The Warriors take the title with a 50-49 victory.

Center Dick Myers, named first team all-state by the Wichita Eagle with an 18½ point scoring average for the season, recalls that championship 55 years ago had its start with losing the title a year earlier.

“What a downer that was,” he said. “After the game was over, we said we were going to win the next year and proved that to be true.”

Temmate Ted Schupp attributes a great deal of their success to their coach.

“Although we had a good deal of talent on our team, I believe that we won the championship because we were by far the best-coached team playing,” he said. “He had us prepared for any eventuality that might occur during the game.”

Reimer pushed the team physically as well as mentally.

“He worked us very hard in practice, and I believe we were in better physical condition that any team we played against,” Schupp said.

Myers also speaks fondly of his coach and the relationship he had with players.

“Coach was very disciplined,” he said. “We were good kids and listened to coach and did what he wanted us to do making us that much more successful.”

Reimer died in 2015 but had an opportunity to celebrate with his team when they reunited in 2011 to be honored as past champions at the Class 2A state championship game in Manhattan.

Schuup, who was president of the student council in 1963, remembers that celebrations spilled over into the next week.

“I remember the superintendent calling me at home the day after we won the championship to ask about a walk out we might have on Monday,” he said.

The superintendent wasn’t threatening consequences.

“He was concerned about how many would be at school for lunch, and we agreed that we would walk out immediately following a morning celebration pep rally,” Schuup said. “When it was all arranged was perfectly acceptable to the administration. The walkout went off without a hitch, and it was a happy Monday morning at school that day.”

For Myers, basketball didn’t end at Peabody. He spent two years at Hutchinson Junior College and then transferred to Texas Western University in El Paso.

There his career became intertwined with history when, in 1966, he was part of the first team to win a NCAA Division 1 championship with an all-black starting lineup.

He doesn’t play competitively anymore, but Myers, who has been married to his wife, Elsie, for 52 years, remains active.

“My grandson was here last week,” he said, “and we went and shot some hoops.”

Last modified April 4, 2018

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