PAINTSVILLE — Paintsville High School dedicated its new, 2,500 seat gym on December 9, 1952 as the Tigers defeated the Flat Gap Greyhounds 72-50.
There have been some high-scoring individual performances in the history of the gym. Some of those high -coring games include Paintsville’s Keith Adkins, who scored 53 points against Pikeville High School on January 22, 1988. There was also the Tigers’ Todd Tackett who overtook Adkins’ scoring record on February 17, 1998 by scoring 56 against Pike County Central.
However, the scoring record for Memorial Gym is not held by either of those players, in fact it’s not even held by a high school player.
On January 8, 1953 the following sports article ran in the Paintsville Herald, “According to Coach McKenzie of the Mayo State Vocational School, six cage tilts are scheduled for the Pirates for January, all to be played at home (the Paintsville High gym) against some outstanding College and Independent teams. On January 10, the Pirates meet a Blue Ribbon Squad from Rio Grande College. This college team is undefeated at this date and boasts the nation’s top basketeer who holds a 47.3 point average per game for this year.” The player from Rio Grande was Clarence “Bevo” Francis, a 6’9” freshman from Hammondsville, Ohio.
“Bevo” Francis averaged nearly 32 points a game as a high school senior at Wellsville, Ohio, his only year on the varsity squad, and was a unanimous all-state selection. After being offered numerous scholarships, he decided to follow his high school coach, Newt Oliver, to tiny Rio Grande. Oliver had played basketball at Rio Grande and no doubt had been offered the job so that his prized prospect would come to the school as well.
On January 9, 1953 against Ashland Junior College, “Bevo” scored a national record 116 points, making 47 field goals and 22 free throws, in a 150-85 win. The most amazing fact from the game is that he scored 55 points in the finals ten minutes of the game to get his final tally. The game between Mayo State Vocational and Rio Grande was played the night after Francis’ amazing performance against Ashland, in the Paintsville High School gym. “Bevo” scored 63 points in a 119-91 win over Mayo State Vocational to set the scoring record at the Paintsville High gym.