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Picturing the Past 84: Basketball in Bell Buckle

Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010, at 11:34 AM

Basketball action in the old Bell Buckle School gym from November 1963. (T-G file photo)
Remember when high school gyms looked like this? The wooden gym at the old Wartrace School was arguably the most distinctive in Bedford County, but heated action occurred in Bell Buckle as well.

This photo of the gym at the old Bell Buckle School from November 1963 isn't in the best of focus, and we don't know who's going up for a shot in what appears to be a high school game, but it still shows the scene well.

From the size of those windows it looks like the roof must have been extremely high. And I wonder why the cheerleaders are sitting instead of standing? Lack of room around the sides?

It doesn't seem like Cascade School has been around for nearly 40 years, since the Bell Buckle building burned in the early 1970s. Time flies. And, with The Webb School in town and Cascade just a couple of miles down the road, Bell Buckle still has basketball.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Another great picture David. I do not recognize the ball player either, but I know that Bell Buckle has produced some quality athletes through the years. On another note, it is sad to hear about Mr. Whittaker.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 7:52 PM

I played basketball in the old gym while a player at Junior High School and also Central High School. It was different, especially in high school because of the size.

Did Bell Buckle athletes have problems when they played away games in larger gyms and especially during tournaments? They had some great athletes, male and female, and while sports editor at the T-G, I thought they played equally well at home or away.

-- Posted by bomelson on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 3:58 PM

I shot a lot of baskets in that gym before the fire, although Coach James Cotham, who could recognize talent saw right away that I was much better suited for warming the bench during actual game time. There were some great ball players there though. The Gilmore brothers come to mind as well as brothers Dwight and Dean Buckingham. Dan Wiser made a pretty good center and was tall enough to handle the job. Lots of great memories there, and another great pic David!

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Thu, Oct 28, 2010, at 11:21 PM

Spent many an hour in that old gym in the early to mid-50s. Not sure if the shooter in the pic is a BBHSer or a visitor, but he has four legs and four arms, so he just drove by someone, it appears. Also noted the two li'l fellows sitting on the railing that's over the stairs--about a 10-ft drop if a hard pass hit 'em--a no-no in today's world. David, you're right about the very small sideline space--my size 12's had to turn sideways so as not to touch the out-of-bounds line. Remembering our janitor of that era, R.T. Tillman, adding a fresh coat of lacquer to the floor before each basketball season--gym would be off-limits for 3-4 days til it dried. Bo, it WAS a bit intimidating to go to the SCHS or other big-school gyms with regulation-sized floors and 10x as many fans!! Thanx for the smiles this pic brought back, David!

-- Posted by dkd57 on Fri, Oct 29, 2010, at 9:26 AM

Patsy and Richard Taylor are two names that should be added to the list. In my opinion Patsy Taylor could have been a good player anywhere at any level.

-- Posted by bomelson on Fri, Oct 29, 2010, at 3:02 PM

Now that I think about it, Sherry Beachboard was another great ball player that honed her skills in that old gym. If I'm correct, she later played with Shelbyville Central.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Fri, Oct 29, 2010, at 8:44 PM

I would like to add the name of Greg Cortner to the list of great players that wore the Bell Buckle Blue Devil uniform. Remember one clipping where he scored 47 points one night in a game.

-- Posted by Photographer one on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 11:29 AM

Whit Lee is another good ploayer who should be added to the list.

-- Posted by bomelson on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 8:01 AM

Going back just a little farther, a lady, well known in Shelbyville, was a great player. None other than Judy Hornaday. Judy was a great shot and a great team leader. I remember my Dad taking me as a very small boy, to BBHS during the construction of that gym. Only the foundation, and I suppose the subfloor, were completed at the time, boy, it looked like a football field to me! I later came to realize as a player in that gym, that it was pretty small. Yes Bo, we did have problems in the larger gyms. I remember playing in the new Franklin County gym, at that time, and it looked enormous, we were dragging by half-time. As dkd57 mentioned, those kids sitting on the rail over the stairwell to the boy's dressing room were in a precarious position.

-- Posted by Oldbbguy on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 5:04 PM

In the 1963 annual the player who was assigned the number 34 was Ray Brandon. Wayne Fox and Eddie Messick were also on the team.

The cheer leaders were Gayle Meek, Lynn Whitaker, Bettty Ellis, Lynn Draper, Marie Fox, Brenda Morgan, Brenda John.

-- Posted by Union on Thu, Nov 4, 2010, at 8:21 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.