Brandon Stockton, Nick Whitlow and Ryan Durham can remember it like it was yesterday. Thirteen years ago, the players helped guide the Glasgow High School Scotties to the 2001 All “A” Classic State Basketball Tournament title in Richmond.
And as the 2014 version of the annual state championship gets ready to begin, the former Scottie standouts remember just what a special season they shared.
“We treated this tournament just like it was the ‘real’ (end of the season) state tournament,” Stockton said. “We took it one game at a time and we focused on only the game we were playing. We talked each day about how we were playing a one-game tournament. And we treated every game like it was the championship game.”
The Glasgow Scotties (11-8) open the 2014 All “A” Classic with Betsy Lane (16-4) at 4 p.m. CST on Thursday.
Stockton scored 22 points and Cedric Curd got 15 to lead the Scotties to a 63-52 victory over Newport Central Catholic in the opener of the 2001 tournament. Defensively, Glasgow held Newport star Ronny Dawn to 16 points.
“Newport Central, as I remember, was a really close game. I think they may have even been leading at one point,” Stockton said. “I got in foul trouble early and had to sit for most of the first half. I didn’t get to play much until the second half.”
“Everyone was clicking on all cylinders and we fed off of each other,” said Whitlow, a center on the 2001 squad. “I thought I played fairly well. I wanted to play better, but I think I played fairly well.
“It was a good team effort. If you don’t play as a team, you can’t win ballgames. Some people just don’t understand that. Brandon got his shots, but we feed off of each other.”
The Scotties followed up the win over Newport Central with a 66-58 victory over Allen Central in the quarterfinal and a 71-59 win over St. Mary in the semifinal. Stockton had 27 points and 10 rebounds against Allen Central and backed that up with a 29-point, 11-rebound effort against St. Mary.
“We were playing well as a team that year as we went into the tournament,” Stockton relayed. “That group had played a lot of games together, dating back, I think, to my freshman year. We were starting to gel together as a team.”
And that team effort paid dividends in the championship game against Somerset as the Scotties won, 60-52. Stockton led the way with 28 points. Whitlow scored 11 and Durham scored 10.
“I think we were all very confident heading into the final,” Durham said. “We knew we had a good team and we knew we had one of the best players in the state. We definitely had our eyes on the prize all the way through the tournament. And we went into the final believing we had the better team.
“It was totally a team effort. Without Brandon, we wouldn’t have been in the position to win the tournament. But we also had guys that did all the little things to win. Brandon was our star player, but we all had to do our part to win.”
And that’s the message these former Glasgow stars want to give this year’s Glasgow team as the Scotties get ready to head to Frankfort.
“I would tell these guys to treat each game like it was their last game. They need to leave everything on the floor,” Stockton said. “There are a lot of good teams in the tournament, but past records don’t matter. We didn’t care who all of the teams were (in 2001). We went into the tournament wanting to play basketball like Glasgow is supposed to play basketball. ... And we won.”
“Preparation is the key,” Whitlow said. “If someone is off, the next man has to pick up the slack. You never give up on the team.”
“I would tell the guys to enjoy the experience this year,” Durham said, “because it will be something they talk about for the rest of their lives.”