National Champion TN Shooting Star Women’s Senior (age 70-74) Basketball Team gave an exhibition at the CCHS versus Dekalb County ballgames on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Additionally, two retired coaches from Auburn High School, Jerry Gaither and William Saddler were recognized.
The TN Shooting Stars’ basketball team won gold medals at the 20ll Senior Olympic Games held in Houston, TX, in March. They were also inducted into the Knoxville, TN Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in November of this year.
Head Coach Pat Murphy age 71 has coached the TN Shooting Stars for the past three years. He quotes the teams’ competitive drive as their successful chemistry.
TN Shooting Stars players include:
Madge Susong age 71 is from Morristown who broke scoring record at 2010 Women’s Senior Olympic games.
Peggy Ballard age 72 of Lewisville, originally from State of Arkansas, was college All State and one of top scorers at 2011 National Senior Olympic games.
Sylvia Smith age 70 played after high school and is a member of TN Amigos Basketball Team.
Mary Jones Kelly, age 70, earned Most Athletic in 1957 at Auburn High School. In 2010, she earned All American in Senior Olympic Games.
Billie Duncan age 67 played basketball for Knoxville Central beginning her freshman year of high school. She had not played for 40 years until she joined the TN Shooting Stars.
The audience at Cannon County High broke out in cheers for the TN Shooting Stars as they scored against each other at Tuesday nights’ exhibition, playing three on three. They have overcome the challenges of age and maintained the love for basketball to earn national honors.
Former coaches at Auburn, Jerry Gaither and William Saddler, ages 85, graduated from high school in 1945; Gaither from Auburn and Saddler from Woodbury Central.
“We were small schools but competitive,” said Gaither.
Saddler stated that he lived 14 miles from Woodbury during high school.
“I had no transportation home after ballgames and spent nights alone in the gym or courthouse. When coaching Auburn High School teams, my wife and I drove several players home after ballgames to make certain they arrived safely.”
It was a very unique gathering of friends, former coaches, and basketball National Champions at the Robert A. Harris CCHS gym on Tuesday night. It was an honor and privilege to share the experience and watch the Championship Team.