Four living legends of the local hardwoods will be honored Saturday at the 12th-annual Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame banquet.
The Hall of Fame inductees for 2017 are: C.R. Redcorn, who played for Huskies in the mid- 1950s; Melvin Reed, a member of Pawhuska High School’s first state champion team, in 1961, and a pair of brothers — Thornton York and Sherman York. Although an age difference precluded the Yorks from sharing the court as high school teammates, the ageless quality of their basketball skills will cause them to be immortalized in the same HOF Class.
Saturday’s banquet begins at 2:30 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 620 E. 15th. Tickets for the event are available at the high school office, local banks and Big County Pawn & Supply, 201 E. Sixth St.
Due to a scheduling conflict at the local field house, PHS’s basketball makeup games with Hominy will not be played Saturday, as planned. The thrice-slated home contests against Hominy are now set for Thursday, Feb. 9.
“We decided to go ahead with the banquet,” said Hall of Fame founder Dale Christenson, a former head coach of the Huskies as well as the Lady Huskies. “I wish we could have tied it with the ball games like we usually do, but that just didn’t work out.”
(Christenson helps out with the current PHS boys varsity squad that’s coached by his son — Jake Christenson.)
A few more about this year’s new HOF members:
C.R. Redcorn — Born at Pawhuska City Hospital in 1934, he attended first- through eighth-grades at Indian Camp school — which, at the time, had no basketball goals. He said he enjoyed his basketball career at PHS, while his brothers preferred playing football. Added that he never stopped appreciating the fact that they were getting to use real goals.
Melvin Reed — A 1963 Pawhuska High School graduate who played on the 1961 state championship team led by the legendary Carlos Gripado (a 2007 HOFer) and Charley Bighorse, who joined the Hall roster (posthumously) last year. Reed also played for the 1962 Huskies’ squad that was state runner up. He was known for making long shots many years before there was a three-point line.
Thornton York Jr. — His playing career came between the Huskies’ state championship runs of the early ’60s and ’70s, but Thornton York still earned selection to the 1966 All-State team for 1966. He also was the first recipient of the Oklahoma Basketball Player of the Year Award.
Sherman York — As a member of the state title winners of 1971 and 1972, he played on half of Pawhuska’s state champion squads.
“It was a time, when everyone could come together Tuesday and Friday night to enjoy a great evening of basketball,” Sherman York recently said. “I still remember my dad (Thornton York Sr.), my uncle (Bob Boylan), Mr. Ray Finley, Mr. Burton, Mr. Jetton, Mr. Oren Terrill and Mr. Arnold, standing and beating the wall, when you first come in the old gym, when something didn’t go the way they thought the ref should have called it.
“Good times,” the younger of the York brothers added. “The gym was always packed.”
The inaugural HOF class in 2006 featured Pawhuska’s state title-winning teams of 1961, 1970, 1971 and 1973, and their head coaches — Max Shuck (for all three 70’s squads and the late Jim Killingsworth, who led the ‘61 Huskies and later achieved fame as a college coach. A third individual member of the Class of ‘06 was Oren Terrill, the now-deceased longtime school superintendent for whom PHS’s field house is named.
Honorees are chosen by a local selection committee comprised primarily of other HOF members.
Following the banquet, the new Hall inductees are normally introduced at that evening’s home basketball games. Later, their names are added to the Wall of Fame on the north end of the field house.
This year’s ceremony will raise the Hall’s inductee count to 52 and put membership by ex-Huskie players at 30. In addition to ex-Huskies, nine former Lady Huskie players also have been inducted.