Highlanders produced breakthrough season in 1964-65

Published 11:23 am Friday, April 17, 2020

It wasn’t quite as far as they wanted to go, but the 1964-65 Cloudland
Highlanders looked awfully good along the way.

While the Roan Mountain school fell one win shy of its first state
basketball tournament, the season was peppered with success.
Under Coach Dennis Greenwell, the Highlanders captured their first-ever conference
and district tournament championships en route to a 30-4 record – which
remains the best mark in program history.

That won-loss record represented a healthy improvement from the year
before when the ’Landers went 17-17.
They wasted no time building momentum, ripping off 14 consecutive victories
before falling to Unicoi County in the Happy Valley Invitational final.
From there came six wins in a row putting Greenwell’s group at 20-1.

Going 10-2 in the Watauga Conference, Cloudland wrapped up the title by
taking a 57-35 game at Jonesboro in its league finale.
A slick operator at guard, Jim Archer wound up leading the Watauga in scoring,
averaging 14.3 points a game during regular-season play.

Archer and teammate Gary Stockton made the District 1 All-Tournament team
after Cloudland won four times in Bristol to seize the championship.
The second-seeded Highlanders breezed past three opponents — Holston Valley
(62-45), Lynn Valley (64-38), and Ketron (71-49) — then upended the No. 5
seed, Tennessee High, 43-37 for the first-place trophy.

In the Region 1 tournament which was held in Morristown Cloudland and
Whitesburg staged a four-overtime struggle that ended 51-46 in the
Highlanders favor.
They were trailing 46-45 in the final two minutes, but Roger Morgan’s steal and
subsequent three-point play pointed the way to victory.

That outcome advanced the Highlanders to the semifinals, one win from a
state berth.
Standing in their way was Ketron, the team they had walloped in the district semis.

The rematch, however, would unfold differently, offering a tense, edge-of-your-seat
With the two teams locked in a 46-46 tie, Danny Depew connected from about 15
feet away with two seconds to go – giving the Wildcats an upset win.

While a state trip fell just out of reach, Cloudland had quite a year.

The Highlanders went 3-0 against Happy Valley, winning those games by a
combined five points, and prevailed in both of their matchups with
Factoring in two wins over Unaka and a two-game split with Hampton, Cloudland
authored an 8-1 mark versus Carter County competition.

A third-team All-State selection, Archer joined Al Hughes and Roger Stockton on the
All-Conference list — which included Gary Stockton and Bob Bennett as honorable

Including tournament activity, Archer averaged 14.6 points a contest, Bennett scored
at a 10-point clip and the Stockton brothers, each pitched in close to nine points per game.

Hughes, who started at center, was a proficient rebounder/defender and sometimes a
double-digit scorer.

Morgan, Jim Stout, and Don Barnett supplied quality depth while Roger Miller and Roger
Buckner contributed to a season that set the tone for Cloudland’s 1966 and ’68 state
tournament appearances.

John Orr served as the team’s assistant coach. Greenwell remained in place for one
more season then departed for a job at Science Hill.

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