The teams that were the test

Published 3:35 pm Friday, January 24, 2020

I have written about the growth of wrestling throughout our area and how proud I am to see more who are enjoying this sport. Another resurgence is Washington Pam Pack basketball! Coach David Allewalt and his team are in the middle of a chance to win the conference championship for the first time in years.

I know that Dave Smith is looking down from heaven and thanking Coach Allewalt for all he is doing, especially while playing in the gym named in honor of Coach Smith. It reminds me of the days before Coach Smith arrived, and we had coaches like Glen Korobov, Ross Lane, Mike Baker and Larry Sipe, and they were all successful basketball coaches. Coach Lane even beat Kinston for the first time in years and was selected to be Mayor for a Day. He won with names like Keith Roach, Tommy Stewart, Charles Harrington, Zeno Edwards and Jim Buckman, to name only a few. These names and others brought excitement back to Pam Pack basketball, and later, after their graduation, Coach Smith arrived with a team he had coached in junior high. I had the misfortune to have to play this team while student teaching at North Pitt. They beat us so bad, we did not score before halftime!

The test was comprised of many good basketball players that loved the game. One outstanding player was a junior named Dominique Wilkins who later became one of the NBA all-time greats. Along with ACC player Avis Rogers, who was later an NBA player after his years at Wake Forest, and his brother Kenny, coupled with names like Williams, Lodge, etc. — this is considered one of the best teams in North Carolina history. They were good for our conference and our town. They packed gyms where they played and other teams respected their ability. At one time, they had the longest winning streak in our state and won numerous state championships. Coach Smith has been inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame and deservingly so. He had coached this team since their junior-high days and followed them to high school. Assistant Larry Sipe later left Washington and became a successful high school coach at Kings Mountain High School where he was from.

Before this was the Glen Korobov era, and he was successful, along with Mike Baker. All the coaches during that period of time were successful and that is why we are so proud of Coach Allewalt and what he has brought back to our community. As the season is closing with only seven games before conference tourney begins, please get out and support these young men and the ladies’ team. They so need our support — at both games. These kids, like the football players and wrestlers, have worked overtime to get ready for their season and deserve our presence in the bleachers pulling for them. If you do not have anything to do on a Tuesday or Friday night, come to the high school and support our ladies’ basketball team, followed by the boys’ game. You will not be disappointed!

I have learned many lessons between two white lines and thank every coach that ever coached me!


Harold Robinson Jr., is a former coach at Williamston High School for 31 years and on the East Carolina coaching staff for 12 years.