Serving Kentucky's Schools and Student Athletes Since 1917

Brewers’ basketball perfection secure in history for another year

March 6, 2019 FieldsColumn

Print

BY MIKE FIELDS

Only a few minutes after John Hardin lost in the first round of the 102nd KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Wednesday night, a phone call was placed to Barney Thweatt, who lives in Benton in the far reaches of western Kentucky.

Had Thweatt heard that Campbell County had knocked off previously undefeated John Hardin 61-60?

Barney Thweatt

Thweatt, who’ll turn 89 later this month, couldn’t stifle his laughter of joy and relief.

“Yes, I listened to it all,” he said. “Nothing against John Hardin, but I’m glad they got beat. You know how selfish I am.”

Thweatt played on the last undefeated boys’ state title team in Kentucky — Brewers, a small school in Marshall County that went 36-0 on its way to the 1948 Sweet Sixteen championship.

It is a source of pride with Thweatt that no boys’ team since has been able to match Brewers’ accomplishment of perfection.

He was well aware that John Hardin brought a 35-0 record into Rupp Arena, and he admitted he had an anxious moment listening to the final seconds of the radio broadcast of the Bulldogs’ game against Campbell County.

With time running out, John Hardin big man Preston Murrell hit a short baseline jumper with five seconds left, but the Bulldogs’ bench had called a timeout before he took the shot, so it didn’t count.

John Hardin had two more chances to win it, but couldn’t connect.

Thweatt said as soon as the game was over, he contacted a few friends, including Brewers’ teammate Tom Mathis, to spread the news that they still stood as the last unbeaten boys’ champ in Kentucky.

“It’s been 71 years now,” he said. “That’s unreal.”

He also noted that in the 102 years of the Boys’ Sweet Sixteen, 22 teams have taken a perfect record into the state tournament, but only two have survived to win the championship: Ashland (27-0) in 1928, and Brewers (36-0) in 1948.

Thweatt will be inducted into the Oldham County Hall of Fame on May 11. He coached the Colonels from 1957-63, and led them to the state semifinals and a 31-3 record in 1963.

 

Print