[1975 houlka slam]

1975 Houlka Lady Wildcats

n Coach: Jimmy Guy McDonald

n Record: 39-2

n Grand Slam title game: Defeated Northeast Jones 48- 35

The Lineup

n Starters: F Jan Morphis; F Cheryl Cole; F Terri Warren; G Gayle Murphy; G Beverly Hendrix

n Off the bench: Linda Earp, Linda Peden, Kathy Nelson, Cathy Easley, Lisa Houston, Debra Winter, Mary Beth McCullough

The Season

n Houlka won the Class B (the smallest classification) state championship with a 42-34 win over East Kemper, the same team it beat in the North half title game.

The losses to Houlka were the only ones East Kemper suffered during the season.

"East Kemper was, by far, the best team we played, better than any team we played in the Grand Slam," said Houlka coach Jimmy Guy McDonald, who currently coaches the boys and girls teams. "I don't know how we beat them twice."

In the Grand Slam, the Lady Wildcats knocked off Pontotoc, the Class A state champion, in the opening round. In the title game, Houlka ran away with a late surge.

Linda Peden, a left-handed forward, wasn't a starter, but she earned All-State Tournament honors with her play in Jackson.

McDonald called Cheryl Cole the best defensive player he's ever coached.

"She never looked to the goal," he said. "She rebounded, defended and passed the ball."

How good was Cole? She held Northeast Jones' high-scoring Janie Evans to six points before fouling out in the title game.

The Lady Wildcats were the first team from Class B to win the Grand Slam.

"They were a very intelligent group of kids," McDonald said. "They were a special group who bonded well."

Grand moments

n The 1975 season was the first for 5-on-5 girls basketball in Mississippi. In previous years, they used two standing forwards, two standing guards and two rovers. "Our kids loved the new style of play," McDonald said. ... McDonald coached his seniors from the seventh grade through the Grand Slam title game. When they moved up from junior high in the 9th grade, he became the varsity coach. ... After winning the B state title, the Lady Wildcats wanted a shot at winning the Slam. "Our girls didn't want to stop playing. They were ready to take on the world," McDonald noted.

Gene Phelps

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