The top individual athletic accomplishments in Hampshire County history
The 1960 Romney Pioneers accomplished something no team from Hampshire County had done previously, and no team has ever done again, post an undefeated winning season and capturing the state title.
With a perfect record of 26-0 and a state championship to boot, there was little room for any other team to take home the top honors as the best team in Hampshire County history.
One of these undeniable reasons why this team was the best of the best was Bill Maphis. The 1960 Pioneers were led by arguably the greatest athlete to hail from West Virginia’s oldest county, Bill Maphis.
During his career, Maphis broke school and area scoring records and played the starring role on Romney High’s undefeated season. Maphis scored 31.3 points a game to lead the team. Although Maphis was the star, the other starters averaged in double figures for the season as well.
After the season, the 6-4 jump shooter earned a basketball scholarship to play at WVU and as a 3-year starter for the Mountaineers, he averaged 13.3 points a game his senior season.
Maphis was a star early in his Pioneer career. The youngster became a starter for the RHS varsity as a freshman.
He was taller than most, reaching 6-foot-4 by his senior year. He had a good shot, breaking school and area scoring records.
“One of his great attributes was to get off the floor, not only height but also with quickness,” said Stan Shingleton, a teammate and longtime high school coach. “I’ve never seen anybody in high school get up as high and as quick and shoot that 15-footer.”
As a sophomore, Maphis was joined by classmates Donnie Davis, A.D. Hott and David Kirk in the starting lineup.
Kirk, a left-hander, played up front with Maphis.
With Maphis leading the way, Romney soared through the 1958-59 regular season, grabbing 20 victories and suffering only back-to-back January losses against Fort Ashby and Keyser.
Maphis tore up the Potomac Valley Conference, setting an area scoring record with a 31-points-per-game average.
However, the junior campaign for Maphis and the Pioneers ended in disappointment.
The rematch with Keyser for the sectional title at Petersburg was probably over before it began as the Golden Tornado blew through the Pioneer defense, 64-48.
Perhaps that loss was motivation for Maphis and the Pioneers as the statistics his senior season were staggering.
The Pioneers averaged 86.2 points a game and held their opponents to 54.8 — an average winning margin of more than 30 points a game.
Maphis had scored 31.3 points a game with every starter averaging in double figures for the season.
Romney won 21 games with no defeats, the best record ever in the area while claiming the PVC championship.
The sectional opponents were familiar. Petersburg fell 86-51 on March 4. Keyser went down for the third time the next night, as Big Bill Maphis won the personal battle with Keyser’s Gary Keedy this time, 41 points to 26 and 31 rebounds to 6.
Next up was the regional tournament in Weston against Gassaway.
The Pioneers exploded for 26 in the 3rd quarter on their way to an 82-70 victory with Maphis scoring 29 before fouling out for the only time all year.
Maphis popped in 33 the next night as Romney took the regional championship 79-66 over Kingwood. He, Kirk and guard A.D. Hott were named to the all-tournament team.
The Pioneers had the most trouble they had all year against Clendenin in the state semifinals.
Clendenin overcame a 10-point Romney lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter to go ahead 55-54 with 20 seconds to play.
After a timeout, Romney had the ball as seconds remained in the game. Clendenin fouled Maphis who stepped to the line and sank 2 free throws to put Romney on top 56-55.
Then, to add insult to injury, he intercepted Clendenin’s inbound pass to seal the victory.
“We were lucky to win it,” Maphis said. “To win a championship you have to be lucky at certain times.”
After that scare, the championship game against Oceana seemed easy, even though Maphis said Oceana was a better team than Clendenin.
He scored 38 in the 75-63 victory. He grabbed 17 first-half rebounds and 25 overall and was named to the all-tournament team.
Maphis and his Pioneers showed up and made sure that Romney was known throughout the state for something other than apples — although they brought more Romney apples to give out in Morgantown.
They became the 4th team in West Virginia history to win a basketball championship undefeated, and the 1st in the 2-year-old Class AA bracket.
The team returned home that same night.
“This side of Fort Ashby, they met us at the county line – I don’t know how many cars there were – and led us in,” Maphis remembered fondly.
Bill Maphis’s starring role in Romney High’s undefeated state championship earned him a basketball scholarship to West Virginia University, where he was a 3-year starter (freshmen couldn’t play on the varsity squads on those days).
“I would never have been able to go there without it,” Maphis said.
In some ways, the 6-4 leaper appeared destined to be a Mountaineer.
RHS Coach Clyde Green was a college teammate of WVU coach Fred Schaus.
Maphis played in 84 games for WVU scoring 797 points for an average of 9.5 points per game, 561 total rebounds for 6.7 boards per game. ο