Emma Pankalla cutting down the net
Emma Pankalla takes a turn at cutting down the net last March in the PHS gym. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs)

One of the sports highlights of my time covering Philomath High sports occurred in 2016 when the Warriors defeated Seaside, 55-45, in the title game.

Afterward, players and coaches climbed a ladder and took turns cutting down the net. Cutting down the nets has become a tradition for state champion basketball teams.

Last March, the Warriors girls basketball team took a long drive home from Forest Grove after being told that the state tournament had been canceled. No. 1 Philomath hadn’t lost to a 4A team all year and deserved to be recognized as the best.

When they arrived at PHS, coaches took them into the gymnasium and they cut down the nets. Sure, no official recognition as state champion, but still deserved based on a perfect record.

According to Tom Rohlff’s book, “Full Court Press,” the custom dates back to the 1920s when some players in Indiana cut down nets to take home as souvenirs. Through the years, we’ve seen the cutting down of the nets at all levels of basketball.

It’s questionable whether or not we’ll see any cutting of the nets this academic year. Basketball has been pushed back and will wrap up in June, if the sport is played at all. And there’s no guarantee that any type of state tournament would occur with abbreviated seasons and plans for a “culmination week” — which could mean conference or regional champions only.

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On another note, former PHS standout Charles Hay died at age 82 in Spokane, Washington. Hay had been a top athlete in the early to mid-1950s with the Warriors.

Hay was a co-captain on the football team during his senior year and was also involved in other sports. In fact, Hay was one of those students who seemed to be involved in a lot of activities.

Besides athletics, he even ventured onto the PHS stage on occasion. During his senior year, he played a role in the Junior-Senior school play, “Seventeenth Summer.” He was also involved with the 4-H woodworking club and served as its president. And of course, I have to mention that he was a newspaper carrier.

After graduating with Philomath High’s Class of 1955, Hay went on to Oregon Tech (classmate Howard Park also headed to Klamath Falls).

Hay lived in Clarkston, Washington, and if you care to share your thoughts, click here to comment on his “Memory Wall” hosted by the funeral home that handled his arrangements.