‘A magical time’: Fans, players mark 50th anniversary of Trinity Episcopal’s legendary state championship

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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NATCHEZ – Fifty years ago today, Coach Clyde Adams Sr. and his Trinity Episcopal Saints basketball team made history.

The team capped an incredible season with a final win, going 36-0 as it captured the overall state championship in Mississippi.

“It was magnetic,” said Vidal Blankenstein, who posted on Facebook in response to the anniversary announcement shared by Rene Adams.

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Rene’s father, Clyde Sr., was the coach of the team and a key player in creating the athletic success at Trinity during the 1970s.

“As Carla Raworth Gore was telling me this, my eyes began to tear,” Rene Adams wrote. “So many emotions are attached to that group and those that followed. The amazing years of excellence in basketball, football, track, tennis and academics would be some of the best years for my family and so many others …

“Whether you were an athlete or a spectator it was a magical time.”

Commenters agreed.

“Best basketball team I’ve ever seen play at *any* level,” wrote John Ballard. “The very definition of team.”

“A very well-oiled machine,” wrote Butch Johnson. “Their fast break was unparalleled.”

And Pat Hazlip called the team “perhaps the best high school basketball team I ever witnessed … before the three-point line.”

Players recalled the leadership of Coach Adams and the shared vision of the team.

“What a magical team with a wizard coach,” said Thomas Haltom. “We would do anything to please (not disappoint!) Coach Adams.”

Haltom went on to describe Doug Lambdin’s winning near half-court shot as “magical.”

Many fans recalled trips to the tournament games. “My memory of riding to the games with Anna and others in the back of the Haltom’s station wagon,” said Marianne Van der Voort. “So kind of them to haul enthusiastic seventh-grade fans to all those tournament games.”

“I turned Sweet 16,” Gore wrote. “We had a caravan going up to Grenada lead by the Ballard’s Winnebago, driven by Mr. Foster. We stopped at a roadside park and had. birthday cake for me. I was a 10th grade cheerleader and it was such an exciting time for Trinity and all of Natchez.”

And Craig Jackson recalled listening to the game from afar. “I remember our household listening to that game on the radio! Back in the good old days when radio was one of the main ways you were connected to sporting events. I can literally remember where the radio was sitting and my dad being in the room. It was quite and achievement of ‘David vs. Goliath’ back in the day.”

And for Rene Adams, the daughter of the coach at the center of the success, the anniversary also marks a time for being thankful.

“To this group of gentlemen – and the 35-1 and all those in between – you gave my dad the best years of his life …

“As Clyde would say ‘Thanks for the memories,'” she wrote.