LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Article brings back great memories

Published 4:37 am Saturday, February 29, 2020

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I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading the article in the last weekend edition about the South Stanly basketball team winning a conference championship for the first time in 54 years.

The article brought back many memories since I was a member of that 1966 team. My senior year was 1965-1966, and I played forward along with Eddie Burleson, Tony Lowder, Herman Smith and Gerald Smith as starters.

Coach Brooks also coached football, which was clearly his first love and the South Stanly team also won the conference championship in football that year.

Coach had us run a basic 2-1-2 zone defense, and we ran an overload offense against most teams who usually ran a zone defense as well.

Tony Lowder was the center, and a big strong presence near the lane. No team could stop him from scoring the basketball.

We played North Stanly four times that season, twice in the regular season, for the conference tournament championship, and the district championship.

Coach Brooks changed our defense for those games as we ran a box and one defense against North. I played man to man in that defense against Garland Davis, who was a very good player, the leader of the North Stanly offense, who went on to play college basketball.

We won each of those games against our biggest rival at the time.

Coach Brooks coached for many years after that season, and later in retirement was honored to be chosen for the High School Sports Hall of Fame in North Carolina.

He impacted many young lives in his career, and the life lessons we learned from him went far beyond the actual games.

He had two homemade signs posted in his office, one saying: “Winners never quit and Quitters never Win; the other saying “When the going gets tough, the Tough get going.”

That is the way he coached and that was the way we played.

My best wishes to the current South Stanly team, and my sincere hope is that they do one better than our team was able to accomplish, that being to bring home a state championship victory.

Steve “Gabe” Laton

South Stanly High School Class of 1966