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Reflecting on the history of Villa Grove High School’s hoops success

By Tony Hooker
In the absence of a high school basketball season in Illinois due to the Governor’s pandemic response, I will be writing a series of articles covering teams from the past four VGHS teams to win a regional tournament,  the teams from 1959, 1965, 1975 and 1984.  All info contained herein has been culled from editions of the Villa Grove News that are housed at the Camargo Township Library.  

Villa Grove started play at the Monticello high school tournament with a 43-40 win over Arcola behind solid play from Joe Eversole and Bob Gaines.  

The Blue Devils then topped Argenta 69-53 as Gaines, Eversole and Larry Howard each reached double figures.

Villa Grove then put together an impressive offensive showing in the tournament semifinal, defeating Sullivan 90-70.  Five players reached double figures for the blue and gold, led by Jim Duncan, who had 24 points.  Dan Corbin hit for 21, Larry Howard totaled 20, Gaines tallied 13 and Eversole added ten for the victors.

Larry Howard’s basket with five seconds to play forced overtime, but the host Sages emerged victorious by a score of 63-59 in the championship game.  Gaines led the way with 16, Corbin added 14, Duncan had 13 and Eversole chipped in 11 for the Grovers. 

Ice cold shooting doomed the Blue Devils in a 51-36 loss to Monticello.  The Devils, who shot less than 30 percent from the field, managed to fight back from a 12-3 deficit at the end of the first quarter and took a brief 26-25 lead when Chuck Smith’s 45-foot heave found the bottom of the net as the third period expired.  The Sages pulled away in the 4th however, outscoring VGHS 26-10 in the stanza to set the final margin. Jerry Harvey led the way with six points, Smith added 5 and Gary Brown, Don Burgett and Bob Ghere each netted four.  

The Blue Devils traveled to Paris over the holidays, where they found tough sledding in the Paris Holiday Tournament.  Joe Waymire tallied 14 points and Stan Prosser added ten before each player fouled out in a 56-47 loss to Mt. Carmel in the tourney opener.  

Prosser poured in 32 points and Tim Keith added 14, but it wasn’t enough as VGHS found itself on the short end of a 73-67 contest against the host Tigers.  Prosser was named to the 6 man all-tournament squad.

Villa Grove opened play at the Shiloh Holiday tournament with a resounding 76-41 win over ABL.  Andrew Turner netted 25 points and freshman backcourt mate Dennis Anglin had 13 points, eight assists and seven steals in his first varsity start.  

Mark Waymire netted 16 points and hauled down 13 rebounds as VGHS defeated Marshall 61-53 in their second contest of the tournament.  Turner chipped in with 15 points and six assists, while Doug Reed and Chris Brown combined for 17 points.  Mark Eckerty made eight of nine free throws in the second half to hold the Lions at bay. 

The Devils continued their run to the championship with an easy 62-42 win over Shiloh.  Unfortunately, no team stats were available for this contest.

Villa Grove dropped a tough 57-46 decision to Chrisman’s undefeated Cardinals in the tourney championship.  Doug Reed and Chris Brown tallied a total of 20 points from their forward position, and Mark Waymire and Dale Brown teamed up for 16 points from the post.  Coach Marty Hinton had high praise for Brown, saying “Dale played the best basketball of his career,” and for point guard Mark Eckerty.  “Moose consistently beat Chrisman’s press with some heady dribbling,” Hinton enthused.

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