BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Forty years ago, the Clarkston High School Boys Varsity Basketball team had a season memorable for the players, coaches, school and community.
The 1979-1980 team was the first to advance to the semifinals; they won their first regional defeating Flint Central, won their first district title in 16 years, won their third consecutive league title, and went on a 26-game winning streak.
The team will be honored this Friday when the Wolves host Oak Park at the Dan Fife Fieldhouse .
“It was a great experience for all of us,” said Scott Weaver, who was a junior on the team during the season and moved up from JV after a few games. “It will be fun to be recognized by the school and see who turns out.”
What added to the experience was the support from the entire community.
“Everybody got behind us,” Weaver said. “I wasn’t one of the big time players. I was one of the players who got in at the end of the game. I would walk into the bank and they have our pictures hanging on the wall. Clarkston was a little smaller back then and you had that small town feel. You walked down the streets and everybody knew who you were. Everybody knew everybody. It was a great experience especially in Clarkston. It’s a great town. We still live here.”
He added he remembered the crowds during the games. The gym would be full halfway through the JV games.
“People were standing everywhere and coming from everywhere to come watch the games,” Weaver recalled. “It was neat. Seeing all the college coaches come to see Tim (McCormick) play was kind of fun, too.”
Weaver added his classmates were great fans and supporters as well.
“One thing I remember is towards the end of games we were up by a lot the student section would start chanting my name to try to get me in the game,” he shared.
He is excited to see his teammates come out for the celebration on Friday.
“The best part is we were a team,” Weaver reflected. “Everybody got along. There were kids I hung out with I would have never hung out with in high school because they hung in different crowds than I did.”
He added they became his friends and are still his friends to this day.
“There are a couple of guys I haven’t seen in a long time, but we keep in contact on Facebook,” he said. “Afterwards we are going to have dinner together. It will be fun to sit down and see how everybody’s lives are going. Everybody is around so that’s a good accomplishment. It will be fun to sit down and talk about our kids and grandkids; fun things we have been doing in life; and also remember when this happened and remember when that happened. It will be fun to get together and just laugh with them and remember.”
Weaver added going into the season he knew the team was good but didn’t know how far they would go in playoffs.
“Going into that season we played down in Detroit in the summertime and there was great competition,” he said. “It was eye opening to see we could hang with them, and we could beat them. I knew we were going to be good, but never knew we were going to be that good. As the year went on it was like we are pretty good. We were beating teams that were good and beating them pretty bad.”
Weaver added it was a team effort.
“We had great captains who kept us together if we had any disagreements we would sit down and talk about them,” he said. “We had great leadership with Tim and John Sheldon – they were all great leaders. I have coached a lot of basketball since then and the teams I have had that didn’t have all great players, but they liked each other and got along and were a team, they were great. It was how our team was. We just all got along from No. 15 to No.1. We hung out, we did stuff. That’s what I remember the most – friendship and teams.”
The Wolves defeated Saginaw that season in the quarterfinals.
“The place was packed,” Weaver said, adding it is the competition which sticks out the most. “All the Saginaw fans were around us. It was just a battle back and forth. The last play of the game coach designed a play to get it to Tim. He knew the guys would collapse on Tim and he dumped it off to Greg Lane. He made a layup with a couple of seconds left. Then, they took a shot from half court. It hit the rim and bounced out. It felt like 10 minutes before it came down and bounced off the rim.
“I remember walking out to the bus afterward and the fans made a whole tunnel for us and they were cheering for us. It was cool. There were a lot of games that were fun – that one got us to the Final Four – that one stood out the most and it was close.”
Their only defeat of the season was in the semifinal game against Highland Park, 51-50.
The 1979-1980 team was McCormick, Lane, Sheldon, Weaver, Larry Baylis, Brad Beattie, Paul Brown, Ed Haddad, Doug Hagyard, Nick Lekas, Scott McKoin, Chuck Nicolai, John Pappas, Ric Schebor, and Jerry Tatu, with Gary Nustad, head coach, and Dave Partlo, assistant coach.
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE