Looking at the 1970s

As I start my research on the 1970s, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s column to the girls.
Two things were pointed out to me during this decade: the format the girls played in during this time and that 1976 was the last time West Union’s boys won a county tournament title. For the West Union boys’ part, I spoke with Coach John Stroud earlier this week, and what we discussed during that time will be in the next column.
For now, we’re going to look at how the girls played during this time.
Darrell Robertson pointed out to me last week that the girls played in a format that involved a rover, who was the only one who played full court. Stroud briefly spoke about this, but directed me to another former West Union player, and his cousin, Penny Goolsby-Heard.
Now, Heard only played one year in this format before it was changed to the way it is now, five-on-five, but said she enjoyed the old format while she played it in seventh grade.
“People are always weary of change, and that’s kind of how we were at first,” Heard said. “Once we were used to it, we loved it. It’s much more competitive.”
The break down was like this: there were two forwards, two guards and two rovers; six girls on the court for each team. The forwards stayed on the offensive end, the guards on defense, and the rovers played both sides. The only way a guard could score was if they were fouled on defense and were allowed to go to the other side to shoot free throws. Heard played forward at that time.
“I was never fast enough to play rover,” she laughed.
The 1970s Union County Tournament titles were dominated by Ingomar and East Union. The Lady Falcons won six in a row from 1970-1975, and the Lady Urchins won four of the next five. West Union won one title in 1979, Heard’s senior year.
In that county tournament, the Lady Eagles snapped East Union’s three-year streak as champions, defeating the Lady Urchins on their home court.
“It was great, because we were dominated the other years,” Heard said. “There were five of us seniors, and we wanted to win so bad, so we loved being able to do that in our final year.”
Heard also shared other stories, like the eighth grade county tournament championship, when Nancy Yates played for Ingomar and beat West Union on a last second shot  from past half court.
Next week, I’ll get into the boys’ side of the tournament, including West Union’s last county championship in 1976.

About Chris Elkins

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