Awhile back, Reggie Sanchez scored 37 points for the Eureka Springs High School Highlanders basketball team in a game against Magazine. His older brother Ryan was a star player for the Highlanders last year and now plays on the college level for Avila University in Kansas City.
This got me to wondering about who some of the best players have been through the history of the Highlanders. I did some informal and wholly unscientific polling of various people that have been associated with Eureka Springs basketball over the years. This subject was also recently discussed on social media. Between these two sources of information, I amassed a list of about 60 names that came up time and time again as being the best players for the Highlanders. I’m sorry there isn’t room to list them all.
For the girls, the names that were mentioned the most were (alphabetically with year of graduation): Tanya Ashford (1988), Ramona Capps (1978), Mitzi Clemons (1978), Bobbie Cross (1979), Frances Fargo (1982), Gaye Lynn Head (1980) and Kim Hull (1985).
For the boys, the names brought up most were: Lynn Ray Brashear (1958), Mike Butler (1974), Billy Clark (1982), James Nall (1980), Bobby Pyatt (1955), Joe Sheets (1973), Marvin Siebert (1990), Chris Wise (1994) and Scott Young (1989).
Realizing that these players were mostly of fairly recent vintage, I asked McKinley Weems who the best players were from his time as a Highlander. He replied brothers Charles Freeman (1936) and Bob Freeman (1939).
Instead of naming individuals, some people brought up certain teams that played well together, such as the boys teams from 1989 and 1994 that went to the state tournament. Others named off families known for producing quality basketball players over multiple generations, notably the Cross, Freeman, Morrell and Wolfinbarger families.
I saw in an old Times-Echo newspaper that L.B. Wilson scored 46 points in a game in 1967 for the Highlanders. I wonder if that is the school record? By the way, basketball runs in that family, too, as his daughter Kimberly Wilson Jenkins coaches at Valley Springs High School.