EIGHTY YEAR DOUGHT ENDS FOR TEAM

(03/18/2004)

Staff METRO NEWS

Charleston

For the first time in the school's history, Calhoun County's boys basketball team has made the state championships. The school's been waiting for 80-plus years for this day to come.

Fans lined the bleachers cheering on their team. Among them were the three musketeers -- Ox Johnson, Lloyd Wright and Junior Smith -- all graduates of the class of 1955 and big fans of the team.

Smith played on the Calhoun County basketball team from 1951 to 1955 -- their team was good but never made it out of the sectionals. It's taken these three men more than 50 years to make it Charleston. But they say better late than never.

Calhoun County is the smallest AA school in the state -- so small they don't even have a cheerleading squad. Instead they rely on their fans to cheer on the team. The Three Musketeers are yelling just as loud as the high schools students.

Wright says they've followed this team for the past four years. Watched as boys turned into men. They say when they saw the team hit the court Wednesday morning it was a very special moment.

The three musketeers say win or lose -- this team is already a winner for doing something no other Calhoun County boys basketball team has ever been able to accomplish -- make it through sectionals, regionals and hit the court at the Civic Center to play in the tournament.

The story doesn’t have the happiest ending, Calhoun County lost in the opening game of the tournament to Winfield 68-50.

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