by Adam Goudchaux, Contributing Writer
January 26, 1960 – Danny Heater scores 135 points on one 32-minute High School Basketball game.
What? I know this is a high school game, but it was a varsity level game in West Virginia where basketball is a religion. Even if this was Michael Jordan vs. some 10 year-olds and HE scored 135 points in a competitive basketball game of any sort it would still be preposterous.
So this 17 year old senior out of Burnsville High School in Braxton County, whose Dad was an out of work coal miner and mom was a church singer, whose family didn’t even own a car, who went to a high school that had 85 boys total enrolled, was dared by his teammates before their game against Clay County to go for the West Virginia single game record of 74. Who knows, that night, what possessed Heater a painfully shy kid, who wore his 145 pounds like an underfed refugee from a war, who wasn’t even known for his scoring prowess, who was a pass first team player. Who knows? Only the basketball Gods know for sure why on this night in a tiny hothouse shoebox of a country gym in West Virginia, Heater would set an national all-time mark that made him an immortal of basketball lore.
Ridiculous doesn’t begin to describe the events of that night.
Hysteria isn’t a well enough word to pin on the crowd in that gym that night.
The Clay County cheerleaders started cheering for Heater.
The other team, though still competing against him, were cheering for Heater.
By the end of the first half Heater had 50 points. Instead of taking his foot off the gas and cruising for the next 25 to break the record, Heater dropped the hammer. It has been said that there was a stretch in the second half where Heater scored 8 points before 4 seconds could roll of the clock. Score, in bounds, Heater steal, score, in bounds, Heater steal, score, in bounds, Heater steal, score. 4 seconds. He scored 55 points in the game’s final 10 minutes alone.
His final numbers that night 53-70 field goal attempts (76% shooting). 29 of 41 free throws. Yep, Clay County were still defending. 35 rebounds and 7 assists to butter cream that perfectly moist wedding cake of a performance.
College record: 113 (Bevo Francis), Pro record: 100 (Wilt Chamberlain), High School record: 135 (Danny Heater) certified as 100% true by the National Federation of State High School Associations.