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MHS Celebrates 100 Years Of Basketball, 1960-‘79

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015


Special to the Sports


(Note: This is the third in a five-part series on “Celebrating 100 Years of Magnolia Basketball.” This articles deals with the 1960-79 era.)

Magnolia ended a three-decade absence from the state tournament during the 1960-79 period.

After winning sectional events in 1959 and 1960, the Big Blue made school history in 1961 by winning six post-season games and the W.Va. Class-AA championship at old Memorial Fieldhouse in Huntington.

Coach Bob Sullivan, who piloted Magnolia to a 125-65 record from 1957-65, guided the Eagles to a 19-7 record and the crown with a 60-51 final win over Milton after dispatching Oceana 58-48 in the semis.

The Eagle starting lineup consisted of senior co-captains Carter Castilow and Steve Rawe, plus three juniors named Mullett – twins Bill and Jake – plus cousin Dick. The all-tournament team included Castilow, Jake and Dick Mullett.

The 6-foot-4 Castilow, who would go on to letter two years at Ohio State U., was selected captain of the Class-AA all-state team and picked on the eight-player “Big” All-Class selections. Dick and Jake Mullett were honorable mention “Big” All-State.

Castilow repeated as first team Class-AA All-OVAC and earned Special Honorable Mention “Big” All-State as a junior while 1960 senior Bill Mackey rated Mention. Dick Mullett earned first-team Class-AA All-State, and All-OVAC, in 1962 while averaging 17.6 ppg.

Castilow led the Eagles in scoring three straight seasons and ended with a school record 1,240 points which lasted until 1989. He averaged 19.5 and 18.2 points his last two years.

Overall, the Blue Eagles during this period competed in eight state Class- AA Tournaments, including runnersup in 1963 (14-12), 1964 (25-1), and 1973 (18-7) in Lou Nocida’s only season as head hoops’ coach.

The Eagles also advanced to the state semis in 1969, 1971, 1972 and 1974. Jack Marks coached the first three of those teams with all ending with losing records. Charley Toth guided the 1974 (13-12) state tourney squad.

The school’s best-record team was in 1964 when the Eagles won their first 25 games before bowing to Williamson 80-68 in the state Double-A finals at the old West Virginia University Fieldhouse in Morgantown.

The starting lineup included seniors Bill Brookover, Butch Showalter and Dave Bohrer plus junior Jack Starcher and sophomore Wayne Porter, who later finished his prep career at Mt. Lebanon, Pa., before lettering in both football and basketball at WVU.

The 1964 team scored over 100 points in three games including a 111-92 shootout win over host Triadelphia High at the crackerbox Bridge Street Gym in Elm Grove.

Starcher averaged 21.4 as a senior while scoring 1,223 career points. Brookover was twice an All-Tournament pick and was joined by Porter in 1964 and 1963 senior center Gordon Carlson, a first team Class AA all-state selection.

Brookover and Starcher were second team All-OVAC Class-AAA (largest class) in 1964 when Starcher was a first team All-State Double-A pick. Starcher, who would later play at Salem College, was first team All-OVAC Class-AA as a senior and honorable mention All-State. A top scorer in 1968 was John Carlson with a 19.6 gait.

In the 1970s, the 1973 team advanced to the state Double-A title game with a 58-47 semifinal win over Poca. The Eagles bowed to Gary 68-50 in the finals. That team was led by three all-tournament picks in seniors John (Fuzzy) Filliez. Tim Shepherd and Dave Forbes.

Filliez, a three-sport standout and OVAC Hall of Famer, was state Amateur Athlete of the Year as a record-setting football wide receiver at Marshall. He earned first team All-State and All-OVAC honors with Shepherd and Forbes second team picks. Shepherd was a first team All-OVAC honoree, and All-State Tournament pick, as a junior. Filliez averaged 18.3 ppg as a senior and Shepherd hit for a 16.3 average.

Other All-Tournament honorees were J. B. Ali in 1971 and Charley Howell in 1974. Ali, a second team All-OVAC choice, would later become the first Blue Eagle to letter four years at Bethany College since Danny Altemese, Magnolia’s top scorer in 1948 and 1949.

The leading scorer in both 1976 and 1977 was Jeff Hohn, who sported a 20.8 norm as a senior. Greg Panger was a second team All-OVAC Class AAA choice in ’77.

The leading Blue Eagle scorer in 1970 was Mike Murphy, who would later play on the WVU freshman team.

Mike Dawson, a four-sport Blue Eagle standout and OVAC Hall of Famer, played football at WVU, led the 1978 team with a 16.6 scoring norm. A year later, Bob Roberts averaged 16.7 points.

Other team leading scorers in this era were Darrell Crawford in 1966, Dave Ratcliffe in 1967, Dennis Justice in 1969, Dave Jones in 1974, and Van Eidom in 1975.

(Note: Next week, the

series will focus on the

period from 1980-99.)