(Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two part series on Williamson’s historic win over arch rival Logan in the Class AAA sectional tournament at the Fieldhouse.)
If Williamson guard Jimmy Barker had not missed a jump shot, perhaps Julius “Boo Boo” Hatcher may have not ever made history in the annals of Wolfpack lore.
“That was an incredible game and I agree that it helped the Wolfpack program turn around,” Barker said. “Especially after a couple of down years.”
“I’ve never seen so many people in the fieldhouse. I remember before the game when the fire department wasn’t letting anybody else in the front doors (fire codes for building capacity, I guess) that people came to the back of the fieldhouse and someone let them in through the dressing rooms,” Barker recalls.
Hatcher was able to make a long tip-in at the buzzer to beat arch rival Logan to win the sectional tournament. It had been 10 years since the Wolfpack had beaten the Wildcats in the sectional. Most of those years the two teams were ranked as the two top Class AAA teams in the state.
“Wow, what an atmosphere for a basketball game. It was truly electric and you could literally feel the excitement in the air. I’m not exactly sure, but I think it had been about 10 years since we had beaten Logan in the sectional and that includes teams with Harvey Austin, Danny Moses and many other really good players. When Hatcher took over in ‘78 we only won 8 games and followed that with 14 wins the next year,” Barker remembers.
“Logan beat us three times each both of those years. When we finally split with them during the regular season in ‘80 (including an incredible 18-point comeback win at Logan), that set the stage for that unforgettable game at the Williamson Fieldhouse,” Barker recalls.
“I can remember being on the left wing thinking that I just wanted a chance to win it for us,” the former shooting guard from Chattaroy Hollow said. “I shot it from 3-point range (there was no 3-point line then) with about 5 or 6 seconds left and remember thinking “it’s in,” and was kind of surprised when it didn’t go down. All of a sudden I saw Boo Boo streaking down the lane and tipping the ball in!”
“It was incredible! The next thing I know it was absolute chaos - hundreds of fans stormed the court and smothered “Boo Boo” - I think he even passed out,” Barker said.
Fans started swarming the other players, offering congratulations, hugs and even autograph requests came from some youngsters.
“It was surreal and I really didn’t want to leave the fieldhouse that evening (which was his last game played there). Our enthusiasm was tempered the following week when we lost to Huntington High, 63-61, in the regional finals. If we had won we would have played in the state tournament in Morgantown. We were so disappointed - to put it mildly,” Barker recalls.
“But, all in all, it was a great season. We ended the regular season as the top ranked team in West Virginia (regardless of class), finished with a 20-3 record - losing those games by a total of 11 points, defeated eight-time Class AA state champion Northfork twice during the regular season and helped re-establish the ‘Pack as one of the top basketball programs in the state,” Barker said proudly.
“I am honored to have been a part of the Wolfpack tradition and was very lucky to have played with a lot of great players. I mean, Donald Hairston was awesome and had some of the best dunks in Williamson history. He had one against Northfork at the Brushfork Armory that year that nearly brought the house down. Even the Blue Demons’ fans were on their feet,” he recalled.
“I am honored to have been a part of it along with so many other players like Donald, Robert Williamson, Kenny Schwartz, Bobby Fletcher, J.B. Heflin, Tony Watson, Curtis and Robert Townes, “Boo Boo,” and many others,” Barker concluded.
Hatcher is now an assistant coach at Mingo Central High School. His son Julius IV is a junior guard on that team. He is also the girl’s coach at Williamson Middle School.
Barker is now a Spanish teacher and coach in Sullivan County, Tennessee. He was a former sports editor for the Williamson Daily News.
(Part two of this story ran last Sunday, February 17 and can still be read on-line.)
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to or email@example.com)