The Vernon Historical Society hosted "A Reunion of Champions" to celebrate Vernon High School's state basketball championship teams from 1957, 1979, and 2000.
VERNON - The stars were shining mid-day at the Vernon High School gymnasium Saturday - local stars in sports history, that is.
The Vernon Historical Society, in cooperation with the City of Vernon and VHS, hosted "A Reunion of Champions" to celebrate Vernon High School's state basketball championship teams from 1957, 1979, and 2000.
VHS' first-ever state tournament win was led by then-coach, the late Sam Mitchell, who later served as the area's State Representative. Among the 1957 title-winning players was Aaron Todd - the man who would later lead the Vernon Yellow Jackets to their second and only other state boys' basketball title in 1979. Todd is also the last remaining member of the 1957 team.
Historical Society member Lynda Waller talked about the Yellow Jackets defeating Lake Weir 51-46 to cinch the 1957 title, recounting to reunion attendees that players carried Coach Mitchell on their shoulders for the length of the gym before accepting the trophy.
"Sports writers selected players Corbin Scott, Gene Hudson, and Buddy Dietz for the All-Tournament Team," said Waller. "Corbin Scott won the second spot as the most outstanding player. He made 74 points in tournament play - and a total of 845 (for the season) - which was probably a state record at that time."
Vernon's 1957 record stood at 33 games won with a total of 2,305 points and two losses.
Team members were: Corbin Scott, Gene Hudson, Buddy Dietz, Aaron Todd, Philip Walker, Rodney Parrish, and Ralph Harris. Cheerleaders were Barbara McFatter, Yvonne Parrish, Mary Lou Galloway, and Geraldine Hicks.
When it was time to recognize the 1979 State Championship team, former player Bertram Smith surprised his teammates - and Coach Todd - with state championship letterman jackets.
Members of the 1979 State Championship team were: Wade Oney, Kenny Peterson, John Brown, Bertram Smith, Tracy Edwards, Greg Smith, Ray Johns, Oswald Vann, Greg Harris, Ferman Peterson, Buddy Todd, Ronny Brown, and Eric Works. Cheerleaders were: Delanie Chestnut, Julie Bailey, Sherri Casey, Brigett Jackson, Melinda Wicker, Toni Zurcia, and Lynne Dorch.
The 2000 VHS Lady Jackets still hold the distinction of being the school's only girls' basketball state champs.
Members of the 2000 State Championship team were: Donavan Duty, Aysha Coleman, Diana Coleman, Starla Maxson, Donshè Brown, Kristi Campbell, Marla Harrell, Wilma Hernandez, Jenny Brazzell, and Leslie Strickland. Cheerleaders were Claudia Hogans, Kristen Haskins, Beth Vaughn, Jessica Reddick, Chrissy Joiner, Sabrina Glover, Torie Simmons, Dawn Finch, Nycole Hetzel, Somer Sheffield. Laura Marschka, Rebekah Sapp, and Jill White.