On Nov. 12, 1971, Northern Kentucky State College played its first-ever men’s basketball game, and the opponent was Calvary College. The game was played at Newport High School, and the Norsemen posted a 109-65 win over Calvary.
Marvin Johnson led NKSC with 17 points, while teammate Dennis Egan added 16 points. Richard Derkson and Dan Maurer each finished with 15 points for the Norsemen, who pulled down 96 rebounds in that game. NKSC also attempted 115 field goals in that contest as six Norsemen scored in double figures.
NKSC 109, Calvary 65 (Nov. 12, 1971 at Newport High School)
LEADING SCORERS: NKSC-Johnson 17, Egan 16, Derkson 15, Maurer 15, McMillan 11, Overmann 10. Calvary-Hall 25, Fultz 19, Napier 10.
The following story was printed in The Kentucky Post on Nov. 13, 1971, the day after Northern Kentucky State College’s first-ever basketball game against Calvary (Ky.). At this time, NKSC had no gym and played its home games at area high schools. The first game was played at old Newport High School’s gym on Columbia Street.
BY ANDY COX
Kentucky Post sports writer
NEWPORT, Ky. - Mote Hils was as happy as a kid who just got a new puppy for Christmas.
The veteran coach’s eyes were sparkling as he received congratulations from well-wishers following Northern Kentucky State’s rather auspicious 109-65 winning debut over little Calvary College at Newport High gym last night.
What Hils’ charged-up Norsemen did to the country boys from Letcher, Ky., was almost sad to see. Only a masochist would have enjoyed the one-sided rout. Even Hils had trouble not falling asleep on his bench.
“It was an ideal opener as far as we’re concerned,” said Hils, the man who put the pizzazz in Covington Catholic High School basketball. “We made some mistakes…that’s typical of an opener,” he said, “but we also did some things real well out there, too.
“If we can get that ball off the boards, we’ll be okay,” continued Hils with an embarrassed smile. “We’ll have a good season. I promise we will be an interesting team to watch.”
Calvary, now 1-2 on the season, was close only once. That was when the ball went up in the center at 8 p.m. Husky Dan Maurer drove for a layup to start the NKS scoring machine off and perking, but the Chargers’ Barry Hall tied it on his patented long jumper.
After that, it was all over. The baby Norsemen played the ungracious host much to their fans’ delight and sent the Calvary boys back to Letcher with a real Viking funeral.
Skinny Marvin Johnson, the Cincinnatian who crossed the river for more playing time, looked impressive with 13 points and 14 rebounds before he was substituted for three-quarters of the way into the first half. About the only anxious moment Hils spent was near the end of the game when his team was trying to hang up 100 points on the scoreboard.
James Perdue hit on a layup to give NKS a 99-59 lead. The next time down the court, Perdue had an easy jumper from the foul line, but much to the chagrin of the crowd which stayed around for the post-mortem, the ball rolled off the back of the flange.
The reed-thin freshman from Cincinnati Hughes made up for that miss, however, seconds later when he sank a short jumper from the left side to put the Norsemen over the century mark.
Only a bit of baffling strategy in the one-sided contest came with just two seconds remaining in the game. Calvary coach William Holbrook called for a timeout.
“(I just) wanted to make sure we had the ball for one last shot,” he said firmly in the locker room after the game.
Holbrook, like his little band of basketball players, was highly impressed with the brand new Norsemen.
“They sure are a lot better than Steed,” said Holbrook. Steed had walloped his Crusaders in their opener last week.
Holbrook not only had his problems on the court, but he was also wondering where his starting guard, Sam Doyle, had ended up.
“We all drove up in different cars,” said a team manager later. “I think Doyle might’ve had car trouble.”
On the other side of the locker room wall, Hils was scratching his head, too. One of his players, Scotty Derkson, hadn’t showed, either.
“I don’t know where he is,” mumbled Hils, still on cloud nine, at least for the moment.
The Norsemen will have to come back to earth this Monday night when they travel to Pikeville. “They’re a good team. Strong and rough,” said Hils.