Well, the Super Bowl is in the past, we’re the heart of college basketball and high school playoff season, and then there’s that international collection of athletes competing at this very moment in South Korea.
Seems like a good time to take a closer look at some Sanford’s legendary athletic teams from the past.
We start in 1952, the year the school’s brand new gym was opened. A number of outstanding teams and players took the floor over the years. In all likelihood, the first great team in the new building was the 1952 girls basketball team, which posted a record of 18 wins and 4 losses.
Among the first truly outstanding girls basketball teams in the area was the 1940 edition. These girls dominated play, earned a league championship and posted an undefeated season, with a record of 17-0.
The early 1940’s were also an exceptional time for boys basketball in Sanford. This 1943 team won 19 games and lost 4, including the state championship game. The baseball teams in this era were characterized by outstanding play and bittersweet endings. Sanford teams in 1943, 1946, 1947 and 1948 all reached the state finals, only to fall one game short of the championship.
In 1945, this Sanford baseball team also had an outstanding season — this time with an usual ending. After completing its second straight undefeated regular season and an impressive run in the state playoffs, Sanford was declared as state co-champions. Our country was in the final stages of World War II and travel difficulties prevented the teams from playing the final game of the year.
Less than a decade later, the 1954 Sanford Central team finally completed the entire journey by claiming the North Carolina High School Baseball AA Class Championship. Here we see their celebration. Lee County followed suit, with state championships in 1996 and 2001.
Editorial content, pictures and research background , compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase. All book proceeds go to Sanford’s Railroad House Historical Association, Inc.