Hornet Mania

CHAFFEE, Mo. — If you want to take the measure of a small town, park yourself at a basketball game.

When I entered the back door of an unfamiliar school Thursday night, I had no inkling where the gymnasium was.

But I didn’t have to.

The sound took me there.

At first distant, the buzz grew as we walked past the empty classrooms, janitor pails and rows of lockers. A right turn, then a left, and my world opened up to an milieu I knew but hadn’t visited for decades.

I was home.

Times were, if you played basketball in Advance, Mo., you were as good as royalty. You molded your game in the summers and reaped the rewards in the winters. At least, that’s how the best ones did it.

The trophy case at Advance High School used to get stocked every year with the heaviest of hardware. Holiday tournament titles. County and Invitational championships. In the 1970s, the school made four consecutive state Final Fours, winning a pair of titles.

But it hasn’t approached that pattern of success since.

That didn’t matter to anyone Thursday.

Fans of every generation filled every seat. The game was tense. My cousin’s grandson, a deadly lefty, dropped 40 points. I yelled myself hoarse.

And everyone from Advance drove home winners, toting their first district title in eight years.

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12 thoughts on “Hornet Mania

  1. Being a Bloomfied wildcat for an entire lifetime & having a son & grandsons who played basketball, I thoroughly enjoyed your article. “Basketball has it all” in these “parts,” & brings us together in joy & in pain.

  2. I grew up in Advance back in the 60’s and 70’s – my brothers were basketball players and we all loved basketball.

  3. Rhett Morgan, was brouseing fb this morning and stumbled on to your article. It brought back fond memories of days gone by. Good job buddy.

  4. You may not remember me I was a couple of grades below you, but this article reminds me of a book that my husbands best friend Mike Mitchell wrote called Show Me Kings. It was all about basketball in Scott Co.(I now live in Chaffee)and about Ronnie Cookson and Scott Co Centrals team back in the Cookson days. You would enjoy it.

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