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  • Point Man

  • The story may not be grand, but the feat certainly was for Medford's Bill Singler.
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    • All-Time Basketball Scoring Leaders
      Medford Senior High School
      BOYS (43) — Bill Singler vs. Ashland (98-59), March 5, 1971.
      North Medford High School
      BOYS (42) — Gabe Burchfiel vs. Eagle Point (97-37), Feb. 15, 2...
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      All-Time Basketball Scoring Leaders
      Medford Senior High School

      BOYS (43) — Bill Singler vs. Ashland (98-59), March 5, 1971.

      North Medford High School

      BOYS (42) — Gabe Burchfiel vs. Eagle Point (97-37), Feb. 15, 2002.

      GIRLS (36) — Martha Sheldon vs. South Medford (66-43), Jan. 16, 1987.

      South Medford High School

      BOYS (41) — Kyle Singler vs. North Medford (78-45), Dec. 30, 2006.

      GIRLS (37) — Brittney Newcomb vs. Glencoe (76-55), Dec. 28, 2007.

      Ashland High School

      BOYS (37) — Bruce Skidgel vs. Hidden Valley (84-71), Feb. 26, 1980; Billy Hansen vs. Eureka, Calif., (60-45), Dec. 4, 2010.

      GIRLS (36) — Brenna Heater vs. Willamette (48-55 OT), March 5, 2008.

      Crater High School

      BOYS (40) — Matt Brown vs. West Albany (106-97), Dec. 27, 1997.

      GIRLS (36) — Somer Blank vs. Grants Pass (76-61), Dec. 8, 1992.

      Eagle Point High School

      BOYS (36) — Bill Turner vs. Illinois Valley (58-48), Feb. 20, 1959.

      GIRLS (33) — Becky Gregory vs. Myrtle Point (82-54), Dec. 16, 1997.

      Grants Pass High School

      BOYS (43) — Jerry Brown vs. Ashland (96-77), Feb. 27, 1971.

      GIRLS (32) — Megan Moon vs. North Bend (58-40), Dec. 4, 2001.

      Roseburg High School

      BOYS (42) — Mike Pardon vs. Mazama (74-53), Feb. 18, 1984.

      GIRLS (38) — Shayla Corder vs. Crook County (67-47), Dec. 29, 2005.
  • The story may not be grand, but the feat certainly was for Medford's Bill Singler.
    Singler had no expectations when he took to the basketball court March 5, 1971, as a junior for Medford Senior High — certainly nothing beyond a desire to beat Ashland High that night and keep pace with Klamath Falls in the Southern Oregon Conference standings.
    The rest, as they say, is history.
    Singler pumped in a corner shot off the opening tip and, in his words, everything just seemed to flow his way from there.
    "It was just one of those games where I happened to finish a lot, and depending on who was guarding me, I guess I felt pretty good that night," Singler recalls.
    When all was said and done, Singler had tallied a record 43 points for Medford in a 98-59 triumph over the Grizzlies.
    His total eclipsed a high-water mark established a decade earlier by Jerry Anderson, who had 41 points in a 1959 game for the school for juniors and seniors.
    Singler remembers thinking how amazing it was that Anderson's record had lasted for such a long time. The fact that Singler's single-game effort has now withstood all challengers as the standard for this area for 40 years?
    "I'm surprised, obviously," says Singler, who went on to fame as a wide receiver at Stanford University and as a collegiate football coach before returning home to guide South Medford's football team. "What is it, 40 years now? That's a long time to have any record."
    That's especially true given the amount of basketball talent that has filled Medford-area courts since that fateful night — including boys who played for South Medford basketball coach Dennis Murphy in his up-tempo scheme.
    "Murph has had some real scorers over the years, and I thought somebody really would get it," Singler says of his record.
    The closest challengers have come in the years after Medford Senior High split in 1986. North Medford High enjoyed a 42-point performance by Gabe Burchfiel in 2002, and Singler's own nephew Kyle Singler tallied 41 during his senior season before taking his talents to Duke University.
    "Kyle or (Michael) Harthun, I thought one of those guys would get it for sure," Singler says of the Division I recruits on the Panthers' lone state title team. "But you have to remember, they played together and kind of negated each other. If they would've played without each other, one of them would've gotten it. The same with E.J. (Singler), he had Mitch (Singler) and a couple other guys that scored, as well."
    "I really was hoping Kyle or Harthun would've gotten it," he adds. "I thought maybe (Josh) Havird had a chance at one point this year because when he gets in a groove he can make eight 3-pointers or more, but, in the course of a game, sometimes things happen that prevent that."
    In the course of his own monumental game, Singler insists he was simply the recipient of good opportunities to score, thanks to a fast-paced tempo that wasn't exactly the style favored by head coach Frank Roelandt but soon became a fixture.
    "In that Ashland game, we were getting up and down the court pretty well," recalls Singler, who scored 39 points earlier that season against Roseburg to flirt with Anderson's record. "It was just one of those things where you kind of got rolling and got out on the break and things happened, and sometimes I'd get the ball out on the wing and I'd have the opportunity to finish. I had a lot of lay-ins and short jumpers because of our style of play that night."
    In all, the 5-foot-10 junior was 18-for-27 from the field and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line.
    Singler was flanked by equally talented peers who helped create many of those opportunities, with Tom Egge running the show at point guard, Terry Smith working at small forward and Ted Pappas and Jon Pappas controlling things in the paint to round out the starting five.
    Despite his status as a shooting guard, Singler says he was more of a slasher during his playing days, often driving to the basket for lay-ins or drop-off passes to teammates or pulling up for clever 12- to 15-foot jumpers.
    Singler credits former head coach Dick Pool, who led the Hedrick eighth-grade team and Medford Mid-High (freshmen and sophomores) squad, for teaching him how to use his legs for a jump-shot instead of the more traditional set-shot favored while he was growing up.
    As for the game in question, Singler says most of the specifics escape him these days beyond a feeling that the team was in good rhythm on offense and utilized a pressure defense that created extra scoring chances. He remembers being told that he had already scored 27 points during halftime of the contest, but really had no idea of his final point total until the game was in the books.
    "Somebody must have told (Roelandt) that I was close because I know they took me out when I got it," says Singler, noting assistant coach Tom Marier may have been most aware of his point production.
    In fact, Singler popped in his 43rd tally from the foul line with 5:09 left in the final period and, seconds later, was on the sideline with Roelandt and company after the coach called upon the reserve players to finish out a game in which Medford had built an 82-52 cushion.
    "A lot of people have said, 'Why didn't they leave you in to score 50?" adds Singler. "But we were winning by 30 anyway, and that's not what you do. You don't try to do things for individual purposes."
    And as time has proven, 43 points is more than enough.
    Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or email khenry@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry
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