Thirty-four years ago, 1985, the News-Argus ran a feature story on this very topic. But I suppose in 34 years another generation has been born from the lineages of those girls who dominated the basketball courts of Wayne County for an entire decade.
The reporter began the article thusly: “The Seven Springs High School girls’ basketball program put together a dynasty in the 1930s. They were untouchable in the Wayne County Community Building court for nine years.”
Now then, it is not my intent to rewrite that report, but in its brevity the girls simply were not given due credit. Thus from this point forward the reading will be a mingling of that feature and added upon by some extensive research of my own.
The Seven Springs girls won the gold in the spring of 1931 and ruled the basketball wars until the 1940 season.
Am I exaggerating in using the word “dynasty”? One definition thusly reads: “Applied to a sports program which has a prolonged run of successful seasons.”
Well, if winning 99 percent of their games over nine years does not bring satisfaction to that definition, I am at a loss to know what would.
During that 1931 season, the championship battle was fought between Brogden and Seven Springs. The Brogden girls went through the season unbeaten, but Seven Springs “shocked” them in the tournament 38-22.
The Springs’ scorers were Barwick with 18 points, Price 14, Ivey 6, H. Holmes, McArthur, M. Holmes and T. Holmes. (Non-scorers were generally guards and were not allowed to score — in the days of six players and half-court basketball.)
To prove that win was no fluke, “listen” to the reporter’s comment on the district championship game:
“Fighting with their backs to the wall through all but the last few minutes of the match Seven Springs licked the Lucama lassies 32 to 29. Lucama had not lost a game in four years.”
Barwick scored 21 of her team’s 32 points.
During the regular season that scoring machine whipped up on my Grantham girls 39-12 with Barwick being the outstanding scorer in that game.
1932 repeat champions
Mildred Barwick was the big gun in 1931, ’32 and ’33 seasons. In the 1932 Wayne County tournament final she scored 23 points to lead her team to a 41-29 victory over archrival Rosewood.
For their outstanding tournament play, the girls from Seven Springs placed three on the all-star first team. Barwick — center; McArthur and T. Holmes — both guards.
Rounding out the first team were M. Price, Brogden; Hooks, Nahunta; and Casey, Brogden.
Barwick was also named the tournament’s most valuable player.
They pile the pride higher and deeper on their Seven Springs devoted following by turning right around and defeating West Edgecombe 43-26, thus again becoming crowned victors of the eight-county tourney.
A well-written account of the game by ace reporter Eugene L. Roberts proved that victory was attributed as much to the guards’ play as for the shooting, scoring forwards. The game as Roberts reported it on March 15, 1932:
“Seven Springs sent a well-oiled, smooth-running, highly-accelerated, perfectly-timed basketball machine into Monday night’s game, the finals of the eight-county girls’ invitation basketball tournament with West Edgecombe and it came out with the heavy end of a 43 to 26 score, with the district championship sewed up, and with another trophy to add to that won in the Wayne County high school series.
“The winners Monday night sent two of the best guards into the game that can be found in these parts, and to a large extent they spelled the margin of victory over West Edgecombe. They were D.R. McArthur and T. Holmes, who took turns at keeping an eye on Margaret Walker of Edgecombe, who in the preliminaries and semi-finals rolled up 70 points against her opponents.
“H. Holmes led the scoring for the winners with 24 points, and she was followed by Barwick with 15 points. L. Walker with 4 counted for the remainder of the total of 43. Potter and Kea were substitutes, but Kea is a player that could well make the first team of most any school’s aggregation.
“The schools, playing in order of the counties named, were Seven Springs, Beulaville (forfeited), Pink Hill, Roseboro, Lucama, Micro, West Edgecombe and Snow Hill.”
As I continue the series, Roberts’ ”prophecy” about Charlotte Kea will prove him right. Her name is likely to pop up more than any other who played for Seven Springs during the 1930s decade.
You may recall that last week I solicited readers for images of the 1930s teams. I’m still in the hunt. An original would be great, but even old newspaper-clipped photos will generally reproduce better than ones from film. Help me if you can!
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.