Blast From the Past: 1978
Records are made to be broken. In 1969, Sistersville basketball great Mike Carson set a new school record of 61 points, on Feb. 25, against the Wirt County Tigers on the home floor in a 98-58 win. That record stood for nine years before Richard Summers came along and led the 1977-78 Sistersville basketball team to a number one state ranking while averaging 38 points per game.
Sistersville went up against a good Wirt county team on the Sistersville floor with Summers leading the top-ranked team in the state to a 113-88 win, despite the visitors shooting 50 percent from the floor, 38-76. Summers was leading the state in scoring and had games of 59, 55, 47, 47, 44, 39, 37, 36, 33, 30, 30, 30. However, February 22, 1978 brought something special out of the hot shooting Tiger senior.
In a time period when three point shots didn’t exist, “Radar” was dead on hitting 32 field goals and knocking in 10-11 from the free throw line, while playing just a little over three quarters. If you had ever witnessed his shot selection, you would be accurate to assume he may have been close to 100 points if the three point line was available. With his 55 point game against Williamstown, following the Wirt County explosion, Summers became the all-time single season point leader in Sistersville history. His two records still hold up today, and with the Sistersville consolidation with Tyler County High School in 1993, they will never be broken.
Although he was the scoring leader of the state, he was not a one-man team. The Tigers were made up of several great ball players that season – Bill Shreves, C.R. Howdeyshell, Jeff Howard, Randy Shuman, Allen Patterson and Jim Surface, just to name a few. Coach of the team was Ray Barnhart.
Coming up on the 40th anniversary of that performance, it would be appropriate, if you see coach Summers out and about, to once again congratulate him on his accomplishments of the past. Although the past is always the past, Summers is the type who continues to work for the future. It’s his competitive nature, and he likes to share that with the young folks of today. If you ever get a chance to watch him coach his volleyball team at Tyler Consolidated High School, or take in a practice session, you’ll have a good idea why he was able to do the things he did. He is not a quitter, and that’s what he teaches still to this day.
It’s been said by many that practice makes perfect. From what has been told, if you wanted to find Richard Summers in the summer time, go to Sistersville park and check out the outdoor basketball court. Chances are he’d be chucking up jump shots from around 25-30 ft.
Today you can often find him at the local fitness center, walking or jogging on a treadmill, lifting some weights, or just pedaling away on the stationary bike. It’s just another way he sets an example for his athletes. Richard has often been heard saying that we are all one big family, as he talks about his Knights volleyball team. It’s easy to see why he takes that so serious. If you go to the Silver Knights games, you most likely will see his immediate family there rooting on his team family. It won’t be long until those two grandkids – Oops, make it three – will be out on that floor performing their magic just like Pap.