Never gets old

 

Last updated 5/31/2018 at Noon



It took me a while to really appreciate the alumni weekend. This was 113 for good old RHS and I think number six for the LRHS alumni.

I recognize that some people could care less and do their best to ignore that this get together even exists! While a small group of alumni works very hard to make sure it never stops.

Each 50-year get together that I attend is fun and gives me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with alums that I haven’t seen in as many as 50 years.

I don’t do it so that they can say, “Wasn’t that nice that Dale showed up for our class reunion to say hi?”

No, I want to be able to get another chance to visit with people that had an influence on my life and a real good one. Now, I must say that these people do appreciate anyone from any class that shows up to say hi.

We have that one thing in common and that is RHS and for us older folks the old brick building on Seventh Street, gone but not forgotten.

It is interesting that some of the upper classmen that we might have feared at one time are the most likable people you would ever want to meet today. Maturity has a habit of taking care of a person’s poor attitude at the most appropriate time.


I had a nice visit with some members of the 1967-68 basketball team that are still in awe of how far a coach by the name of Don Huston took this band of misfits.

Huston was fresh out of Western Washington State College (WWU today) and probably about 23 years of age. He took inventory of his team and realized if the Broncos were to be successful they would need to do it on the defensive side of the ball and out rebound the opponent.

So each night it was defensive drills, rebounding and free throw shooting. If there was any time we worked on the only offense we would need and out of bounds plays.

Those of us who played that year will vividly remember the different defensive drills and the switching man-to-man defense.

Coach Huston didn’t have to yell at us to get our attention. He merely talked to us about what he expected and would make us go over the drill again and again until everyone got it right.

It was exhausting but beneficial. You wouldn’t believe how many games we won on the defensive side of the ball.

Coach Huston had goals for his team. Two that come to mind are: holding a team without a field goal for a quarter and holding a team to 30 points or less for an entire game.

The first goal was met on a couple of different occasions and the 1968 Broncos held a pretty good Wilbur team to 30 points in a January matchup in Wilbur. To say that it was impressive is downplaying the defensive effort by a bunch of hard working misfits.

Wilbur and their Coach Larry Sappington were baffled and powerless to do anything against the Bronco defense.

Most basketball teams pride themselves on scoring points while this Bronco team bought into Coach Huston’s way to earn victories. The team pretty much felt that if they scored 45-50 points they could beat most any team they met.

There were a few teams that were loaded with talent and could score a lot more than 50 points.

Othello, Reardan and Sprague all had talented athletes. Lind, Odessa and Freeman had a few good players that on a given night could get hot and make things miserable for any team.

I’ve mentioned before that a coach can’t make any one person a better player. What they can do is instill confidence to compete with anybody.

Huston did that and got the team to believe they could beat some of the best teams in the state if they worked hard and believed.

This team of misfits had very little height competed hard because of fundamentals, belief in each other and the ability to survive line drills each night to get in the best shape of any team around.

At the District Tournament, the Broncos knocked off a determined Hunters team with a 6’8” center. The Broncos rallied from a huge first half deficit to win in three overtimes. The next night they lost to a very tough Reardan team.

In a loser-out game against a very good Curlew team the Broncos came up just shy of going to state by a point. Curlew won 50-49.

I tell you this story because the seniors from that team really did everything they could to go to state but if you would have asked any of them that question at the beginning of the season most would have said no way.

We all learned a lot from Coach Huston and for those of us that coached later in life we have all used his methods of teaching defense and rebounding.

Why? Because those fundamentals never get old!

 

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