The Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame inducted five people Friday night for their impact on Pawhuska High School boys and girls basketball. However, the inductees or their representatives focused their remarks on the impact Pawhuska, particularly Pawhuska High School basketball had on their lives.
Approximately 75 gathered at the Calvary Baptist Church for the ceremony. After the banquet and ceremony, the five Hall of Famers went across the street to Oren Terrill Fieldhouse were they were recognized at halftime of the Pawhuska High School girl’s basketball game against Newkirk.
Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame organizer Dale Christenson said the Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame was established 12 years ago to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to Pawhuska basketball as well as former Huskies who have brought honor to the program through their accomplishments.
“Anyone can nominate someone. A committee reviews those nominations and selects those who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Christenson said.
The Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame also recognized Travis Finley, who played an critical role in the creation and success of the organization.
The inductees are Brandi Brown Workman, Dale Christenson, Harold Gilkey, A.D. James and Floyd Rally.
Brandi Brown Workman
Brandi Brown Workman, daughter of Ronnie and Delia Brown, graduated from Pawhuska High School in 2002. She participated in basketball, cross country and track and field in high school. She received a basketball scholarship at Northern Oklahoma College — Tonkawa and played both years there. She completed her education at the University of Central Oklahoma, majoring in political science. After graduation she worked as a legislative assistant in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. In 2008, she was married to Steven Workman of Lawton. They have three children and live in Washington, D.C. She is a stay-at-home mother.
“My junior year we were a 5-20 team. My senior year we went to 23-5,” Workman said. “I think the big turnaround was our attitude. We all had a great attitude.”
She thanked the organizers for remembering her, and said she was honored. She also thanked her parents.
“We had such a great team. We worked well together. I think we all loved being on the team. Everybody had a part and we loved playing our part. I don’t remember anybody complaining or grumbling about playing time. … We did it all together,” she said. “Those were really some of my best experiences.”
Dale Christenson, a 1975 graduate of Pawhuska High School, played on the 1973 state championship team. He also played on the 1974 and 1975 state tournament teams. He served as girls basketball coach for Pawhuska High School from 1987 to 1995. He was the assistant boys basketball coach from 1997-2004 and the program’s head coach from 2004-2008. He has been a volunteer assistant coach for his son, Jake Christenson, since 2016 when Jake became the Huskies head coach. Dale Christenson conceptualized and established the Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Christenson said he learned about the Pawhuska basketball standouts as a child, and he would try to emulate their shooting style or how they played defense.
“I didn’t get to see some of those guys play, but I heard so much about them, and I made up stuff about how they shot … Travis I don’t know if you ever shot a one-handed running jump shot in your life, but in my backyard you did,” Christenson said. “I told my little brother — we’d be out there playing and I’d say ‘Here’s Travis Finley.” All I knew was that he was good because I heard so many people talk about him.”
Christenson said as soon as school was over at Indian Camp Elementary, he would run over to the high school gym to watch the Huskies practice.
“I tried to be left handed because of Herb Gilkey,” he said. “Herb had the softest left-handed jump shot, and I tried to shoot that thing for a long time.”
Harold Gilkey grew up in a military family, traveling all over the country. He attended Pawhuska High School after moving to Pawhuska in 1968 to help care for his grandmother, Edna Potts. Gilkey was a key player on the 1970 and 1971 PHS state championship teams. He graduated in 1971, attending Northern Oklahoma Junior College for a year before joining the work force. He served seven years in the military. When his tour ended, he became a full-time employee of the United States Civil Service. He worked for the U.S. government for 34 years, retiring in 2008. After retirement, Gilkey pursued a path in commissioned security and works part-time at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City.
Gilkey said he doesn’t remember all the stories told at Friday night’s ceremony.
“All I can remember is when we played ball … coach would say get on the line and we would run back and forth. … We were in shape — better than anybody who was playing basketball,” Gilkey said.
Gilkey grew up in the military and relished coming home with his mother and father to see his grandmother. Some of his other cousins came and lived with his grandmother during their high school years.
“They would stay with her until they graduated and then another one would come. I could not what until it was my turn to come down here and stay with my grandmother and play basketball in Pawhuska.”
A.D. James was born in Mississippi in 1936, but moved to Bixby in the early 50s where he played high school basketball and football. He earned a basketball scholarship to Connors Junior College. He moved on to Texas Wesleyan where he played basketball. He graduated in 1960 with a degree in social science and physical education. He has a master’s degree in education from the University of Tulsa and an administration certificate from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. Over the years, James taught history, science and psychology. He also served as an athletic director and assistant principal. He also was director of Sand Springs Vocational Programs. James served eight years as Pawhuska’s football coach, where he also assisted with basketball. He would later return to Pawhuska and coach its basketball team for two years.
James died in August 2014. His widow, Jenna James accepted the award Friday night.
“Hearing all those stories brings a lot of memories back to me as well,” she said. “A.D. would have loved this because he loved all those ‘remember when stories.’ He loved to share them with everybody else and listen to them as well.”
She said the selection of James into the Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame was an honore.
“I appreciate it, and I know he would too,” she said.
Raley didn’t play sports during high school, but was involved in athletics. He was the football manager for four years, and adding wrestling manager his junior year. In his senior year, Raley’s classmate’s selected him as Most Loyal Huskie. Raley has spent most of his adult life living up to the word loyal. Raley has become a Huskies basketball icon as the score-clock operator at home games.
Raley said he owed a lot to Coach A.D. James for letting him be involved in athletics as the football manager.
One of Raley’s duties as manager was washing uniforms.
“Coach James had set out stocking caps on the bench, and doing my job as I was supposed to I threw those things in the dryer. Well, you know the rest of the story, they shrink down to doll size on my. Every time he would come back he would never let me forget that,” Raley said. “It was funny. It was hilarious.”
Raley closed by saying “I can’t bring myself to calling him A.D. He is still the coach to me, and always will be coach.”