MCHS ‘58-59 squad to be honored

By Theo Tate
Posted 2/8/24

In 1959, Dwight Eisenhowser was president, Frankie Avalon’s “Venus” topped the music charts, Gunsmoke was the No. 1 TV show and Ben-Hur won the Oscar for Best Picture.

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MCHS ‘58-59 squad to be honored


In 1959, Dwight Eisenhowser was president, Frankie Avalon’s “Venus” topped the music charts, Gunsmoke was the No. 1 TV show and Ben-Hur won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Also that year, Montgomery County High School had its first basketball team to place at the state tournament. The boys squad finished third in the Class M state event, making it the first of three state awards the program won in its history. The Wildcats won the state title in Class M in 1972 and placed third in Class 2A in 1974.

On Feb. 9, the 1958-59 squad will be honored with a banner presentation during halftime of the Wildcats’ home game against Louisiana at Ballew & Snell Court. The players on the team were Wesley Oliver, Bob Lauer, Bennie Muns, Lloyd Davidson, David Kelsick, Bob Ploudre, Mervin Oliver, Don Davis, Norman Schloeman, Luther Camp, Wayne Weldon and Mike Woods. Hartzell Elsworth was the coach and Charles Bishop and Dale Deeker were the managers.

MCHS activities director Adam Falloon teamed up with county residents Dave Barker and Dave Teeter to gather research on the squad, which finished 25-9. He was surprised to find out there was no banner of the 1959 team on the walls of the MCHS gymnasium like the ones of the 1972 and 1974 squads.

“It was brought to our attention a couple years back about a Wildcat team from the late 50’s who made it to the Missouri State Final Four and finished in third place,” he said. “My first reaction at the time was if they finished third in state, shouldn’t there be some sort of representation on our HS gymnasium wall? However, there wasn’t. My second thought was how come this is coming to me over 60 years later. Why hasn’t this been brought up with previous generations?”

The third-place finish happened just four years after the consolidation of the Montgomery County high schools (Montgomery City High School, Bellflower High School, Jonesburg High School and New Florence High School) in 1955 and two years before the opening of the current MCHS building in 1961.

The Wildcats edged the Clarkton Reindeer 66-65 in the third-place game of the state tournament, which was played at Columbia. In that contest, Davidson scored 23 points, Kelsick had 17, Camp finished with 13 and Wesley Oliver added seven. MCHS came back from a four-point halftime deficit to beat Clarkton, which is located on the Missouri Bootheel.

The Wildcats began their season with back-to-back wins over Assumption and Van-Far. They were at 5-4 at one point of the season before winning 20 of their next 25 games, including a seven-game winning streak. They captured the Bowling Green Tournament title with a 4-0 record, beat Bowling Green 60-50 in the regional finals and knocked off Union 65-57 in the sub-state championship game in Vandalia to advance to the Final Four.

MCHS lost 67-42 to eventual state champion St. Agnes of Springfield in the state semifinals to advance to the third-place game against Clarkton.

The third-place trophy is in the trophy case at MCHS.


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