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Tim Stevens, J. Mike Blake, Clay Best, Aaron Moody, and Elliott Warnock follow all the news for high school athletes from Wake, Orange, Durham, Chatham and Johnston Counties. 

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A basketball fable _ Part 2. The afternoon openers

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The story so far: Readers selected eight high school boys basketball teams to play for the title of all-time best. The huge arena magically appeared and players returned to peak condition for the games. After some disagreements over the field, the games are about to tip off at the new Larry Lindsey Arena. 

The afternoon opening round

The commotion over who was in and who was not in and the seedings died down at noon as the buzzer for the opening game sounded and the 1939 Durham High team members took their seats on the bench beside long-time manager Marvin “Skeeter” Francis, who had achieved fame as an Atlantic Coast Conference executive.

At the other bench, 1970 Raleigh Ligon’s James “Twiggy” Sanders eyed Durham’s Horace “Bones” McKinney and decided he couldn’t decide who was skinnier.

Twiggy controlled the tap, but “Bones” and “Twiggy” basically cancelled each other out. Bones, one of the best known tall tale tellers in the state, and Twiggy, a Harlem Globetrotter, could clown around, but not when they were playing serious basketball.

Ligon was definitely quicker and its players could jump better, but Durham High had too many shooters and opened the tournament with a 65-58 victory.

All the Ligon players had gone on to play college basketball, but so had all the Durham High starters. A bunch of the Durham High guys made it into various athletic halls of fame. It proved it could play against great athletes.

“It was a Dr. Pepper game,” said Ligon coach Harvey Heartley referring to the soft drink’s old 10, 2 and 4 slogan. “We got here at 10, were done by 2 and at home by 4.”

The second game was one of the most anticipated of the opening day. Pete Maravich was the star of the 1965 Broughton team, but the club was team oriented. Looking back, this Broughton team was about as close as Maravich ever came to winning a major title.

Durham Jordan’s 1968 team revolved around Stuart Yarborough and Billy Chambers and the Falcons’ balance was exceptional.

Maravich scored 18 points in the fourth period and Broughton led 56-54 before Yarborough muscled in the tying basket at the buzzer.

The Broughton fans jumped to their feet at the end of the first overtime as Jimmy Broadway tossed in a shot from midcourt at the buzzer. One official seemed to rule it good, but the other said the shot was late.

“Just like the last time,” groused one Caps fan referring to Broughton’s disputed double overtime loss to Winston-Salem Reynolds in the NCHSAA quarterfinals in 1965.

Chambers, who played at North Carolina, and Yarborough, who played at Duke, made enough plays in overtime for  Jordan to win 63-60, to set up an all-Durham semifinal between Durham High and Jordan.

Lindsey Arena emptied with spectators talking about the upcoming evening games.  

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About the blogger

Tim has covered high school sports for more than 40 years. He is the only active newspaper reporter in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. He was the co-author of the original NCHSAA record book. When he not writing about boys and girls, he often is at church or in a theater. Email Tim.