WHS names gym after Smith

Published 10:51 pm Friday, December 9, 2011

Former Washington basketball coach Dave Smith (left) stands with WHS principal Russell Holoman and athletic director Alison Jones during a ceremony in which the school renamed the gym after the former coach who won two state titles. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Friday night had to have a familiar feeling for Dave Smith. The legendary basketball coach once again stood on the hardwoord inside a packed Washington High School gym that featured the same electric atmosphere that filled the arena when his team was winning back-to-back state championships in the ’70s.
While the setting may have seemed familiar there was one major difference: the 750-plus fans in attendance where not cheering on the players. This time around it was Coach Smith who got the loudest applause as Washington High School held a ceremony to announce that its basketball facility would now be called the David W. Smith Gymnasium.
“This was tremendous,” Smith said after the ceremony. “I can’t describe the feeling that I have. It’s great to see all these people here tonight. It was just tremendous when you can see so many of your former players that helped contribute to your success.”
During the ceremony Smith took center court, and in true Coach Smith fashion, praised the players who helped him compile a 306-161 record with the Pam Pack, six regular season and conference championships and back-to-back state titles in 1978 and ’79.
Smith also praised the work of Thornton Gorham Jr., Florence Lodge and Mary Hawkins, whose work a group called the Concerned Citizens was a major factor in enabling Smith’s name to hang on the walls inside of Washington High School gym.
Washington athletic director and girls basketball coach Allison Jones credited the work of the Concerned Citizens for doing the legwork that enabled the school to rename the gym after Smith.
“They were the ones that got the ball rolling and we are certainly glad they did because he really is the most deserving person to name the gym after,” said Jones, who graduated from Washington in 1991.
The sign that reads “David W. Smith” has been on the wall over the entrance of the gym since the start of the school season, but Jones said the school wanted to honor Smith before the renaming process became official.
“We just felt like we needed an official ceremony and unveiling of the sign,” Jones said. “We wanted to really make it a special moment for him. It just seems so natural for his name to be up there and it is a constant reminder of the standard of Washington basketball.

Knights sweep Pam Pack
The Washington girls basketball team rallied to take a two-point lead into the second quarter but could not hold on to it as a suffocating Riverside press enabled the Knights rush past the Pam Pack 70-38 on Friday.
Riverside point guard Jalyn Brown led all scorers with 15 points while D’asya Wilson added 11 to up the Knights’ record to 5-1.
“I thought early we were a little out of control. We were playing good defense and forcing turnovers but then we gave it right back to them,” Riverside coach Hughes Barber said. “I thought we settled down after the first quarter and still played good defense but played better on the offensive end.”
Trailing 12-10, the Knights outscored the Pam Pack (0-3) 26-11 to go into halftime up 36-23. In the second half Riverside would outscore Washington 34-15.
On the night Washington honored former basketball coach David Smith, his granddaughter Kiara Smith played in her first-ever varsity game and the sophomore was second on the team in scoring with 10 points. Washington’s junior guard Lacie Anglim led the team in scoring 11 points.
“We kind of got away from doing what we do best and we fell into that trap of running with Riverside,” Jones said
In the boys game, Washington got off to a hot start but could not sustain it as Riverside overtook the Pam Pack late in the third quarter to claim a 62-46 victory.
Riverside guard Chuck Bethea led all scorers with 16 points, while guards Rick Hardison and Mario Moore added 12 and nine, respectively.
Knights’ coach Bobby Williams said his team’s dedication to defense in the second half was the key.
“We locked down and started guarding on defense,” Williams said. “Our defense created our offense and got us going.”
Sophomore forward Stevie Green paced the Pam Pack with nine points, while Jamel Moore scored nine.