County Tournaments and Other Basketball History

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County Tournaments and Other Basketball History


That was a long time ago. That is the year I graduated from high school. My senior class provided the nucleus of the Madison-Model state tournament basketball team. We had spent six to 12 years in school together. The first six were Ray Coy, Harold Richardson, Harold Moberly, Theodore Dunn, Bill Kersey and Ballard Luxon. I was writing sports for the Daily Register back then. Another Madison team I wrote up included Hugh Coy, Brown Thomas, Bobby Joe Whitaker, Donald Edwards and Chenault Ray.

Boyd Dalton recently sent me a news clipping about the 1947 County Tournament. I remember this county event as one of the most thrilling basketball competitions I have ever witnessed. The four county high schools of that era were the contestants. In 1947 Central defeated Kingston 43-22 and Kirksville beat Waco 33-31 in the opening games. Central then rallied in the fourth quarter to top Kirksville 29-22 and win the county championship. County school superintendent William Pearson handed out the trophies.

Scoring was low in those days. At the quarter, Kirksville led 4 to 2. At the half, their lead was 6 to 5. After falling behind 17-10, Central rallied to cut the lead to 17-14 on goals by Boyd Dalton and Edward Johns. In the final quarter, the scoring went back and forth. David Tate hit a long shot for Central. Vernon Prather scored a free throw for Kirksville. Dean Wells tied the score at 18-18 and then made a pivot shot to put Central ahead 20-18. Central’s Harvey Hackworth hit a shot from the side. After Don Brown answered for Kirksville, Boyd Dalton pumped in another goal to make it 24-20. Harold Deatherage hit a long shot for Kirksville, followed by a long shot by David Tate, making the score 26-22. Kirksville never scored again and the final score was 29-22 Central.

Scoring for Central were Hackworth 6, Johns 4, Dalton 5, Tate 6 and Wells 8. For Kirksville it was Bill Hendron 1, Harold Hendron 3, Brown 5, Prather 7 and Deatherage 6. No substitutes were listed. Thank you Boyd for this very interesting account.

Let’s turn to other basketball bits. The nicknames for the four county high schools were the Central Scarlets, the Kirksville Blue Jays, the Waco Cardinals and Kingston Trojans. Madison was the Royal Purples, there also were the Richmond Ramblers, Berea High Pirates and Berea Academy (Foundation) Lions.

There had been nine county high schools, until the merger into four high schools in 1939. In 1955, the four became Madison Central and later Madison Southern opened. Madison and Model were split and later Madison went into the county system. Richmond High previously had merged with Madison High. It is interesting to note that in 1947, the 44th District included teams from Irvine (the Golden Eagles) and the Estill County Engineers. These two Estill County schools later were merged.

Recently at Madison Central, the state tournament teams from Madison High (1939, 1944, 1945, 1947 and 1969-70) were honored in a ceremony. I previously have written about the state tournament teams from Waco, Red House, Richmond, White Hall (girls) and all of the Madison High teams except the 1939 team. If any reader has information on this 1939 basketball team, please let me know. We love our basketball here; it is very much a part of Madison’s heritage.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “County Tournaments and Other Basketball History,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed March 29, 2023,