Hereford High boys 1968 state semifinalists and 1993 state finalists honored
When the 2017-18 Hereford boys basketball team finished 14-10 and was eliminated by Edmondson on Feb. 26 in the Class 2A North Region sectional quarterfinals, it prevented them from playing in the state tournament’s final four.
Had they won a regional championship, they would have been in an elite club of Hereford teams that made it the state semifinals.
In fact, the 1968 and 1993 teams remain the only ones that earned the trip to play at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland, College Park.
On Feb. 16, before the 2017-18 Bulls hosted Winters Mill, several players from those championship teams returned and were recognized by current coach Jim Rhoads during a pregame ceremony.
“Hereford High school is a very special place. We have a lot of great community members who are here tonight and tonight we are going to honor two of the greatest boys basketball teams in the history of the school,” he said.
The Hereford team from 50 years ago was the first at the school, which was established in 1954, to win a regional [sectional] title and advance to play in the state semifinals, where they lost to Lackey.
Jay Garner was the head coach of the ‘68 team that finished 14-8.
It was his first year as head coach. He took over for Wayne McGinnis, who coached the team in 1967, but was forced to give up the position after his father broke his back in a tractor accident.
McGinnis’ grandson, Dawson Jones, was a player on this year’s Bulls and McGinnis remains a major influence on Rhoads and he introduced him with some lavish praise.
“He’s someone that I still call a friend, the godfather of Hereford basketball, Wayne McGinnis, former coach and one of the all-time great players in Hereford High history,” said Rhoads, noting McGinnis played basketball at the University of Maryland.
Garner inherited a close-knit group of kids who loved the game of basketball.
“We had to work with them, but the talent was there and they were nice big kids,” Garner said. “They were just a nice group of kids to work with and they wanted to play and they wanted to win, so it was an easy transition.”
The players included Charles Dorsey, Timmy Miller, Neil Hoshall, Gary Foward, Dennis Hendrix Jim Yates, Rod Regier, Forry ‘Buck’ Buckingham and Gene Winemiller.
Managers were Larry Wilhelm, Dale Sparks, Lynn Jones and Sue Martin.
“The kids played very well,” Garner said. “Rod and Forry had big games, but it was a total team effort, but we relied on the big guys to control the boards.”
The game at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House was a first for any Hereford player and it was quite a shock for Regier.
“All I remember of going down to Cole Field House was that I couldn’t find the basket,” said Regier, who was comfortable with Hereford High’s wooden backboards and concrete wall, protected by crash pads.
“Going down to Cole Field House, with the capacity of whatever it was, 15,000 or 20,000, with glass backboards, I couldn’t even find the backboards when I first walked in there,” Rozier said.
Although the Hereford fans were lost in the sea of empty seats at Cole Field House, Regier appreciated their support.
“There were two or three busloads of Hereford fans that went down for that,” Regier said. “It was great.”
That’s what made coming down for the reunion, from his hometown of Freeport, Maine, something he wouldn’t miss.
“Getting together with my former teammates, managers and coaches, that was special because it was a group of guys and girls, where we did a lot of work together and we were very, very close and I was very, very happy to reconnect with everybody,” Regier said. “I wanted to see my old teammates.”
Garner was also eager to make the trip to Hereford High from Shrewbury, Pa. and he presented the game ball, signed by all the players from the district championship game 50 years ago, to current coach Rhoads.
“It was definitely a surprise, after all these years, that everybody was interested in coming, just to see each other, and it was a real pleasure to be able to get together with that team because they were such an outstanding group of kids,” Garner said.