Pilots Recognize HOF, Scorers
River High School enshrined a long time River Pilot Assistant Coach – Gard Curtis, as well as all 15, “1,000 point scorers” at halftime, and before the boys varsity game with the Magnolia Blue Eagles, respectively.
Coach Curtis hails from the backroads of Monroe County and went to a small school named Bethel High School that only had 15 boys in it; he made it to the state tournament in 1957. Gard would later join the late R.L. “Dick” Potts at River High School as his assistant coach, after graduating from Glenville State College.
He would then teach and coach in the River District for the next six decades, doing what he enjoyed – teaching and coaching. Coach Curtis is known as Bob Ripley at Magnolia: coaching defense, while developing some outstanding shooters at River High School.
For his outstanding service – not only to River High School – but to the many players that he had the pleasure to coach, he was rewarded to become one of the Hall Of Fame members on this night.
Also, before the game with Magnolia, the River Pilots brought back all but one of the 1,000 point scorers that had the pleasure of playing for the Pilots.
Raymond Raper played from 1954-’57, and was the very first to score 1,000 points, as he totaled 1,162 points of his 1,440 points at River, with 278 during his freshman year at Sardis.
Gary Mallett was the next Pilot to score 1,000 points; he played under coach Potts and scored 1,020 points.
The third player to score 1,000 points was Mitch Mericle from 1972-’75. Mericle held the school’s boys all-time record for 43 years with 1,748 points.
Notably, these first three 1,000 point shooters pre-dated the three-point line.
The first female to score 1,000 points was Stacey Jones Potts; from 1980-’83 she scored 1,126 points under the direction of Tom Tisher.
The next male to have tallied 1,000 points was the talented Jim Eveland who finished with 1,086 points.
The second female to achieve 1,000 points was Gayanna Wohnhas from 1986-’89; she scored 1,210 points. The name Mike Snively was a household name for many around 1989-’92, as this multi-sport athlete scored 1,415 points.
Then came Brandon Grimes as this baseball and basketball standout scored 1,230 points from 1993-’96 and the first player for the present Head Coach Mark Romick. The talented Julie Schmidt Byers was the third female to score over 1,000 points as she netted 1,140 points.
Shortly after Julie scored over 1,000 points, Melissa Mistovich Bowers scored 1,092 from 1997-‘2000. The third-straight Lady Pilot scoring 1,000 points was the multi talented Leighann Fry Oldfield from 1999-’02; she scored 1,260 points. After a spell of female scorers, the multi-sports athlete Ryne Romick scored 1,051 points.
The boys didn’t have the scoring reign very long as another multi-talented female came in and dominated every sport she played; Jensen Caretti was the first Pilot to score over 2,000 points as she lit the nets like they were on fire, scoring a remarkable 2,147 for the girls all-time leading scorer under Head Coach Rick Isaly.
The last male to score 1,000 points is still playing today as the multi-multi-talented Lukas Isaly has scored over 1,900 points to break Mericle’s record that was held for 43 years. Lukas isn’t done, as he was named the Eastern District Player of The Year last season as a junior, while holding the scoring record for one game with 51 points which he set as a sophomore.
The final player to score 1,000 points is also still playing as Lauren Flannery tallied her 1,000 points only a week ago and has had some nice double-digit scoring since. She will look to continue to add to her total.