Three new members enshrined in Dec. 19 ceremony –
By Mark Carpenter –
The tradition of Peebles basketball is long-standing and three pieces of that history became permanent fixtures in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies held Dec. 19 between the JV and varsity contests with West Union. The newest inductees are Tammy Hoop Crothers, a 1988 graduate of PHS, and a pair known by most as just the “Justice twins”, Brett and Brian Justice, graduates of PHS in 1982.
Crothers letter three years at the varsity level under the guidance of Coach Tom Newman, who presented her HOF plaque. Her junior season, she was the first player off the bench on a team that finished 20-0 in the regular season and was ranked second in the state. In her senior season, the Lady Indians won a district title while she set numerous records that still stand today.
Crothers still holds the mark for free throws made and attempted in a single game and a single season. She had a high of 33 points in a game against Western Latham and averaged 16 points a game her senior year and is one of only nine Lady Indians to score at least 400 points in a season. In her senior campaign, she was named SHL All-League, Second Team Southeast District, and Special Mention All-State.
“This is something that I never thought would happen,” said Crothers. “I didn’t start a basketball game until I was a sophomore and didn’t start a varsity game until I was a senior. To be recognized by your school and your peers really means a lot.”
“When I was a young kid, I used to come to ball games at Peebles and they had the all-state plaques up in the old gym and I always thought you had to be really good to get one of those, so my all state plaque is certainly a treasured possession of mine.”
The Justice family name will live forever in the annals of Peebles basketball with some certain future Hall of Famers to come, but for one night, the spotlight shone on twin brothers Brett and Brian, who were part of some of the most memorable boys teams in Peebles history.
During their three-year varsity careers, the Indians went 59-1 in regular season games, included undefeated regular seasons in 1980-81 and 1981-82. Those teams won three SHL gold balls, three Tri-County titles, and had a 52-game winning streak. They were ranked as high as fifth in the state in 1981 and seventh in 1982, but suffered two disappointing single-point losses in the district finals. On Hall of Fame Night, the Justice twins were presented their plaques by their children- Baylee and Brooke for Brian, and Blake, Beau, and Jacey for Brett.
Brett finished with 852 career points and his 321 career assists rank third overall in Indians history, and he still holds the school record of 28 consecutive free throws made. He was an All-SHL selection and All Tri-County his junior and senior years and after averaging 19.7 points a gams his senior year, he was named First Team Southeast District and Third Team All-State. To top that off, he was also named All-SHL in track, baseball, and cross-country during his time at PHS.
“I think it’s very prestigious to be elected to the Hall of Fame,” said Brett. “It means that not only did your coach think you were a good player, but a committee chose you to be part of something special.”
“Brian and I have been inseparable for so many years and when we played together, we just could read each other on the court. It’s pretty special going in together. I think the biggest highlight is those two undefeated seasons-for 20 plus games we were the best and we never lost a home game for three seasons.”
Brian Justice finished with 1,012 career points, scoring in double figured 49 times, appearing in over 70 varsity games in his career and his career-high came when he scored 37 points in the 1981 district championship game. He was named All-SHL and All-Tri County his junior and senior years, averaging 20.7 a game as a senior and being named First Team Southeast District and Third Team All-State. Like his twin, he also earned All-SHL honors in track, baseball, and cross-country in his high school career.
“I consider this a great honor, just knowing the tradition of Peebles basketball,” said Brian. “To be part of the Hall of Fame with all the great players that I grew up watching, it’s probably one of the greatest thrills I’ve ever had. Going in with Brett is just the icing on the cake. To be able to participate in all those sports with him was like a gift from God. Coach (Art) Myers gave us the ultimate compliment when he called us ‘gym rats.’”
“The back to back undefeated seasons are a highlight for me also. No one can ever predict that will happen and when you look back, it’s one of those accomplishments that just seems more amazing.”