Weyers Cave girls basketball

Submitted

The Weyers Cave High School girls basketball team pose for a team photo in 1925.

The game of basketball was only 34 years old when the Weyers Cave High School girls basketball team posed for a team photo in 1925.

James Naismith, a Canadian teaching physical education in Springfield, Massachusetts, was looking for an indoor activity for athletes during the winter of 1891 so he hung up a fruit basket, and made up some rules that included throwing the ball in the basket. It took a long time for the game to coalesce around a standard set of rules for the game that we know today.

It took even longer for women’s rules to match men’s rules. In 1901 a set of basketball rules for women was published in an attempt to make the game less rough and stressful for women. Limits were put on how many players could be in each area and how much dribbling could occur. However, many women still played by the men’s rules.

As late as 1914, probably half to two-thirds of girls were playing by the men’s rules. The rest were playing under a mish-mash of rules because there were at least five different sets of rules for the girls game. It wasn’t until 1938 that the female rules were standardized to a two-court game for women with six players per team on the court, three guards at one end and three forwards at the other. Only forwards could score.

For most places in 1925, girls basketball teams scored using the following shots: a one-hand overhand throw, a two-hand underhand throw, the shot-put throw, and the throw with the back to the basketball. All field goals counted as ONE point.

The brick school that these northern Augusta County girls represented was built in Weyers Cave in 1916-1917 as one of six modern consolidated schools that county built in the 1910s. The school housed all grades and was enlarged in the 1923-1924 year creating eight classrooms on the first floor.

In the basement of the school was a large space that was an auditorium with a stage at one end. That might be where the Weyers Cave girls team played ball until another addition in 1936 added a real gymnasium.

Although we don’t know much about the school’s girls basketball team in 1925, athletically speaking that year was important because it was the year that Russell “Bob” Long graduated from Weyers Cave High School. Long was a pitcher and had led Weyers Cave to the Augusta County baseball title during his junior and senior years.

After graduating in 1925, Long played baseball for Bridgewater College. He pitched one of the greatest games in Bridgewater history with a no-hit, no-run 11-inning victory against Hampden-Sydney. Long spent his life teaching and coaching and is in the Bridgewater College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Weyers Cave School was considered one of the most progressive in the county. Historically the most important event to come out of the school was the formation of the first Future Farmers of America chapter in the entire nation in 1927.

In 1962, Weyers Cave School became an elementary school. The elementary school closed in 1994.

Do you have a historic sports photo you want to share with us? If so, please email it to Nancy Sorrells at lotswife@comcast.net.

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