LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - They were the first. They will forever be remembered as pioneers. The 1969 Central team that claimed the Kentucky High School State Basketball Championship.
On Friday night, that group reunited to celebrate the amazing accomplishment.
1969 Kentucky Mister Basketball Ron King said it was a long time coming.
“The first time Central ever won, because you know back in the day, Central had great teams always, but some kind of way they cheated,” King said, in reference to opposing forces. “Now they literally was cheating. Ain’t no other way to put it, and if it was a close game they cheated, but when I played, they couldn’t cheat because we beat the heck out of everybody. It wasn’t close. In the state tournament we beat Ohio County, I don’t know how they got there, 101-72 and I put in 44 points that night, which was a record.” A record King says he would still have if the three-point shot had been available.
“Richie Farmer broke my record, with the three-pointer,” King said. “If I would have had the three-pointer when I played, I would have had 64, and I would still have the record.”
“I never knew what it meant to the Centralites, people from Central,” King recalls. “We had a parade and the West End, the whole city was shut down. We had never won it before, it was just like when Louisville won the championship in 1980, it was like that in 1969.”
King and 5′7″ guard Otto Petty lead a team coached by Robert Graves, the first African-American coach to win the Sweet Sixteen.