A Girls Basketball Dynasty Begins!

Mrs. Bourn looked at a clock in the administrative offices of Slaton Independent School District.

It was 10 a.m. It was a typical January morning in 1974.

Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang.

“At 11 o’clock this morning,” an emotionless voice of a male caller said, “a bomb will go off at Slaton High School.”

Mrs. Bourn reported to The Slatonite that, “the caller’s voice was calm, he did not sound excited.”

Within minutes the high school was evacuated.

“Slaton High School was evacuated Tuesday and students had an unscheduled two and a half hours out of classes after a caller said a bomb would go off at the school,” The Slatonite reported on January 31, 1974.

Fortunately, the call turned out to be a hoax for which the caller, once apprehended, faced jail time.

The excitement had faded, briefly, but a different sort of excitement enveloped the halls of Slaton High School in ’74.

In January of 1974 members of the Tigerette basketball team; Patti Melton, Jan Davis, Kay Stephens, Ann Partain, Becky Culver, Doris Meurer, Rosemary Scott, Angela Kitten, Susan Hopper, Pam Howard, Frana Gass, LuAnne Fondy, Kimmy Cooper, along with their coach, Gay Benson, were, once again, on their way to winning a district championship title.

By February of 1974, they had reached their goal.

“Slaton’s sharp shooting girls basketball team and coach, Gay Benson, have done it again,” The Slatonite reported on February 7, 1974. “For the fourth straight year, Slaton has won the district championship.”

Making their way into the state playoffs, the Tigerettes faced Hamlin and on Valentine’s Day of 1974, The Slatonite reported that they had beaten Hamlin 69-56.

The Tigerettes were well on their way to the regional championship tournament.

Of course, the regional tournament proved to be a walk in the park for the very experienced and very determined Tigerettes.

After many years qualifying for the playoffs, their time had come.

The Tigerettes beat Coahoma during the first round of the regional tournament and made their way to the final game of the tournament; a regional championship was on the line, and the team was only two wins away from that ultimate high school goal – a Texas state title.

“We’re number 1! We’re number 1!” Slaton fans chanted as the Tigerettes made their way onto the court for the regional championship game against Stratford.

The cheers became only livelier and more bousterious as the Tigerettes left no room for Stratford to deter their goal.

“We’re number 1!” the Slaton fans continued chanting as the final buzzer approached and Slaton was on top. “We’re number 1!” They shouted long after the final buzzer went off and Slaton was on their way, for the first time since 1932, to a state championship game.

In a special Saturday edition of The Slatonite on February 23, 1974, the headlines blared from the front page, “Tigerettes Win State!”

Team member, Jan Davis, reported to The Tiger’s Cage student newspaper, “It’s one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me – A dream come true.”

“They’re great. They’re Beautiful. They’re magnificent. They’re #1!” The Slatonite reported.

Of course, the path to a state championship title began many years prior.

Players in long skirts and on an outdoor basketball court, in 1915, the town was introduced to a new phenomenon – girl’s basketball.


About slatontx

The ramblings of one of the few remaining small town newspaper reporters left in the world!
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