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State basketball tournament: Moyers' first trip to state ends in quarterfinals loss

Moyers had never sent a team, boys or girls, to state until this season. To be fair, though, there were a good number of years where Moyers didn't have a chance to send a team to state.
by Jenni Carlson Published: February 28, 2013
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Donna Dudley recorded every second of Moyers' game in the state high school basketball tournament.

Every historic second.

Every heartbreaking second, too.

On a day when small schools from across the state began the three-day march toward a gold ball, there was only one school making its state tournament debut. Moyers had never sent a team, boys or girls, to state until this season. Everyone from the tiny town in the southeast corner of the state donned their black and gold and made the nearly three-hour trek to the State Fair Arena for the game.

“They're all here,” Dudley said.

She laughed, but she wasn't joking.

Moyers is a one-church community of 300, and while I'm not sure how the math works out, the Tigers had more fans than that at the Big House. Guess that's what happens when you make your first trip to state.

To be fair, though, there were a good number of years where Moyers didn't have a chance to send a team to state.

In 1968, the high school in the once-booming railroad town closed. Enrollment had gotten so low that the community just couldn't justify keeping it open.

Moyers kept open its elementary school, teaching kids from kindergarten through eighth grade, but once the kids reached high school age, they went eight miles down the road to Antlers.

In the late 80s and early 90s, though, the town started talking about reopening the high school. There was no building, so the community would have to pass a bond issue simply to have a high school to reopen.

Many folks were on board.

Others weren't so sure.

The bond issue eventually passed, and in 1992, Moyers welcomed a freshman class for the first time in decades.

“We have grown each year since then,” said Dudley, who has worked in the district for more than two decades and is now the superintendent of Moyers Public Schools.

Nowhere is the district's growth more evident than on the basketball court. When the school reopened, it had a gym that had been built after World War I by the Works Progress Administration. The floor wasn't even regulation size.

They had to remove most of the bleachers just to make the playing surface big enough, but with the change, people sitting in the front row tended to have their feet inbounds.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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