With basketball season here I can’t help looking back at my senior season as a Warrior in 1951.
For the second year in a row we needed one more win to take the league championship — for the second year we came up short. As had happened too many times it was the Eureka Loggers that took the victory from us on our home court by the score of 49-45.
The 1951 Warrior team was an interesting group. The starting five consisted of two seniors, a junior and two sophomores. Not very often do you find a varsity team make a serious run at the league title with two sophomores in the lineup.
The seniors were Leon Morgan and John Fraser, the junior was Bunky Peterson and the sophomores were Lee Templeton and Rod Griffin.
Lee and Rod were outstanding three-sport athletes, they were both starters on the football, basketball and baseball teams for three years.
Lee went on to St. Mary’s University on scholarship and played both basketball and baseball there for one year before signing a professional baseball contract with the New York Yankees at the end of his freshman year. Both Lee and Rod have been included in the Del Norte Athletic Hall of Fame.
The 1951 basketball team was coached by my favorite coach Chuck DeAutremont. It was coach DeAutremont that inspired me to want to become a high school coach.
The sixth and seventh players on the 1951 were sophomore Nick Perry and me, a senior.
It was interesting to note that two years later in 1953 that this group of Templeton, Griffin and Perry were joined by a standout from the lightweight program Larry Taylor and this group, now led by Hall of Fame coach Tex Gatlin, did get the necessary wins to bring the Humboldt-Del Norte League championship home to Del Norte.
They were a fun team to watch.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High sports.