Culpeper County High School will honor its boys and girls basketball state championship teams from the 1970s before Friday’s varsity basketball game.
For more than 40 years, the Blue Devils have consistently been a contender for district, regional and state titles and that lineage can be traced back to the foundation John Averett set forth.
Now, Averett and his 1973 state championship team – along with the girls state championship teams from 1976 and 1979, all-state players and 1,000 point scorers – will be honored at CCHS in between the varsity and junior varsity games against Manassas Park.
Pictures and statistics from the players will be broadcast throughout the school and a reception will be held in the library at 5 p.m. A ceremony will be hosted between the junior varsity and varsity games to recognize the 60 honorees.
According to Averett, team doctor Dr. George Broman will also be attending.
Gary Deal, Culpeper County Board of Supervisors West Fairfax representative, said that constituents originally came to him with the idea. He in turn reached out to Culpeper County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Brads and soon CCHS principal Danny Soderholm was a enthusiastic member of a committee that began searching for players from the boys and girls championship teams. The girls, coached by Kate Carter, won titles in 1976 and 1979 and will also be honored that night along with their all-state players and 1,000 point scorers.
“Those days back then were special and there was a lot of enthusiasm back then,” Deal said, in the interest in honoring those squads.
Culpeper’s basketball legacy can be directly traced back to Averett, who coached former CCHS boys head coach and athletic director Billy Thornhill. After Averett left, his assistant Simon Poole coached for a few years before Thornhill returned to take the helm. Thornhill remained at CCHS through the mid-2000s when he handed over control of the basketball program to current head coach James Thompson.
Deal wanted to make sure both the girls and boys were honored as both were extremely popular and successful. Carter, who finished her career with 526 wins, passed away in 2008.
Some of the key players from the years who have said they will attend include Keith “Mister” Jennings – who still leads CCHS and the Battlefield District in scoring and played in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors.
Harold Jones, who played on the 1973 championship team and was the Virginia State Player of Year, will also be in attendance.