You may think I’m writing about basketball. I am not. I’m writing about the girls whose echoes from bouncing balls and squeaking shoes permeated the gym. I’m writing about the skillful hands that scorched the nets and racing feet that outran their foe. It just so happens during the decade of the 1930s that well-oiled machine from Seven Springs was doing it better than all the rest.
When the class of 1935 graduated, the girl’s basketball team lost three of its six starters; Charlotte Kea the go-to girl, and star guards Ivey and Holmes. Therefore you might expect the 1936 season to be a real downer—a crumbling of the dynasty. But think again.
The remaining veterans and some rising new stars would not only keep winning but also restore the dynasty. This cohesive crop would not show up on the losing end of another box score until January of 1940.
To no one’s surprise, Seven Springs was undefeated in 1936. The first round of the county tournament found the team winning 51-20 over Grantham. M. L. Grady scored 20, Eleanor Gibbs 16 and Holmes 15. Guards were Barwick, Herring and Kilpatrick.
On March 14, “The Seven Springs sextette swamped the Brogden girls 32-19. Scoring: N. Grady, 8; M. L. Grady 9 and Gibbs 5. Gibbs also did fine floor work for Seven Springs.” V. O’Berry was high scorer for Brogden with 14.
They doubled the score in the next game over a good Rosewood team, 41-20. Again they had balanced scoring. It was Gibbs-9, N. Grady-16, and M. L. Grady with 12. The reporter wrote that it was “The Springs passing attack that was hard to break up and thus it was the main tool which enabled them to win.”
He also wrote that the team’s guards, Barwick, Kilpatrick and C. Herring effectively put down Rosewood’s passing attack while E. Herring held E. Suggs, Rosewood’s higher scorer to 10 points. “Gibbs,” wrote the reporter, “a Seven Springs forward was instrumental by passing the ball to the girl who scored the points.”
SEVEN SPRINGS CAPTURES COUNTY TITLE
Now, then, I want you to deposit the name “Gibbs” in the bank of your mind. As I continue this and other columns you’ll understand why.
Seven Springs captures the county title again with another win over Rosewood. The account as reported by News-Argus’ James Crone.
“By trouncing the girls from Rosewood 35-14, the lassies of Seven Springs became champions of the county league in a fast basketball game Saturday night. With E. Herring effectively guarding Suggs, Rosewood’s high scorer and N. Grady – 16 points and F. Gibbs – 10, shooting baskets frequently, Rosewood’s attack was efficiently squelched. M. Grady added 9 for the winners.
“By receiving good passes from Gibbs situated in either the right or the left corner of the court, N. Grady shot most of her 16 points through which she became high scorer. Suggs was high scorer for the losers with 8 points even though she was well guarded.”
Following that win, the Seven Springs girls continue their mastery by winning their way to the championship game in the tournament. The Seven Springs machine dominates with a 41-20 shellacking of a good Rosewood team. The wide margin of victory over Rosewood twice showed what a dominating team they were.
Painful to report, but Seven Springs’ first tournament game was another victory over my Grantham girls, 51-20. For the winners it was M. L. Grady with 20 points and Gibbs with 16.
When 12 girls were selected for the first and second all-star teams, 5 of the 12 were from Seven Springs. First team: N. Grady, M. L. Grady and E. Herring. Other first teamers were F. Worley and Suggs, Rosewood and L. Dail, Brogden. Seven Springs’ Gibbs and Barwick were second team selections.
That same Seven Springs female dynamo rolled through the now, 10-team tournament. As reported: “Seven Springs girls showed their usual class as they knocked off Four Oaks from Johnston County in easy fashion 49-13. Floor play, accurate shooting and a brand of team play that clicked continually enabled Seven Springs to take an early lead and to add to it—coasting all the way.”
Gibbs led the pack with 21 points. N. Grady, 14 and M. Grady 12. Guards were E. Herring, L. Herring and Barwick.
SEVEN SPRINGS ADVANCES TO FINALS, CLAIMS CHAMPIONSHIP
Next, they fought their way to the tourney finals by defeating Salemburg 20-16. Though the scoring was not high, the Seven Springs’ principal said it was the toughest game they had played all season. High scorer for Seven Springs was N. Grady with 11. It was written that, “Salemburg was smart and kept Gibbs well under control.” She scored but 5 points.
Then they eke out a narrow victory against Cleveland 28-26 for the championship. In the third quarter, the undefeated Seven Springs girls played like a cyclone and took the lead. At no time during the rest of the game did Cleveland get ahead.
Gibbs did fine floor work and N. Grady did very accurate caging. N. G. Holmes played well. N. Grady scored 15, Gibbs 6 and Holmes 7. Blanchard scored 22 of Cleveland’s 26. Their guards did outstanding work throughout the game.
A supplement was published in the News-Argus with the following observations about the tournament:
Cleveland had won 19 consecutive games before they lost to Seven Springs, who themselves had won 13 consecutive games. The coach for Seven Springs was Mary Spear. Nettie Grady was certainly one of the most accurate shooting players in the tourney. Barwick was one of the best guards. She was always on her feet and with her opponent. She was responsible for a number of attempted goals by Cleveland not being successful.
Next week more photos and continued dominance.
Sherwood Williford writes a weekly column for the News-Argus. Contact him at 919-440-8811, Sherwoodowl@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 175, Princeton, NC 27569.