1961 State Basketball Champs
Our 1961 Basketball Champs and Cheerleaders
Larry Conley, Gene Smith, Cecel Thornbury, Jerry Daniel, Steve Cram, Justin Robert Hilton, Larry Fairchild, Janice Ferguson Sizemore, Rick Pope, Kenn Johnson, Nina McGee Yancey (wife of Bob), Don Stewart, Ginger Meyers Boyce, Dale Sexton, and Harold Sergent
      “Teamwork” is a collaboration of the many memories of those who were a part of the 1961 Ashland Tomcat state championship basketball team. Many of the details also came from the storytelling of the late John McGill, the former sports editor of the Ashland Daily Independent who followed the Tomcats every dribble of the way in the 1960-61 season. His colorful writing included many details that could not have been captured any better if every moment was filmed. Former ADI photographer Ben McCullough also captured some remarkable images of the season that will live on forever, including the cover photograph that shows the Tomcats after they won the state championship in Memorial Coliseum. Photographs from his collection are featured throughout the book. Also, in the back of the book, is an enormous amount of statistical information about that 1961 season.
     
      There aren’t many teams remembered quite like this one, a team that fifty years later is still being called one of the greatest in Kentucky high school basketball history. They are the last state champions from the 16th Region, a team for the ages that supplied many grand memories for fans, and a squad that was the true definition of team. They were unselfish players whose only desire was to win. They did it better than any team in Sweet Sixteen history, sweeping through the State Tournament with four consecutive double-figure victories, culminating with the 69-50 win over Lexington Dunbar in the championship game.
     
     “Teamwork” is the story of this team, from the arrival of Coach Bob Wright to Ashland in 1959 through that 1961 championship season.


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