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The Albany High School State AA Championship
Girls Basketball Teams of 1951-52 and 1952-53.
With magnificent displays of team spirit, sportsmanship and especially heart for the game, the 1951-52 and 1952-53 Albany High School Squaws became the first Albany High girls' teams to win the State AA Championship in tournaments held at Albany High School. Led by high-scoring Allison Christian, labeled by many as one of the greatest girls basketball players the state has ever known, the teams were victorious over many challenging opponents, working together in such a way tbat it was a pleasure to see them in action. The Squaws were fine ball-handlers and showed a strong fighting spirit. The most outstanding qualities these teams had, however, were the respect, affection and trust they had for each other and for their coaches, allowing them to remain calm, deliberate and focused in any situation. This was largely because their coach, Needham Carey Hatcher, or Mr. N.C., as he was usually known, always displayed a calm, quiet demeanor, never pressuring or shouting at his players, never even questioning an official's call. This eventempered attitude carried over to his teams, contributing to their ability to win the close ones. Hatcher, an Albany native, returned to Albany High in the fall of 1948 to teach social studies after having been a school principal and a basketball coach for both boys and girls teams for 10 years. Albany High's principal, Harold McNabb asked Hatcher if he would take on the girls team, which had a questionable future at that time. Building years were from the 1948-49 season in which Mary Alice "Honey" Cheatham, Carolyn Hayes Braswell and Ernestine Moody Copas were freshman, to the 1950-57 seasons when the team played in their first state tournament. Then in 1951-52 and 1952-53 the Squaws showed everyone

The 1951-52 State AA Championship team included (front row, from left) Assistant Coach Betty Paul, Joyce Fort Gaines, Eva Williams Philbin, Carolyn Hayes Braswell, Carolyn Payne Cook, Allison Christian Schnabel, Christine Mercer, Mary Alice ''Honey" Cheatham Paulk, Ernestine Moody Copas, Peggy Sweat Smith, (back row) Manager Betty Frazier Jenkins, Anne Hammock Benton, Peggy Houston Henderson, Carolyn Schraeder Unruh, Louise BracJsford, Ruth Austin Swain, Carenne Hatcher Miller, Sybil Jones Belcher, Yvonne Harrison Council, Jo Wright Hughes, Coach N.C. Hatcher.

The 1952-53 State AA Championship team included (front row, from left) Eva Williams Philbin, Carolyn Payne Cookguard, Allison Christian Schnabel- forward, Joyce Fort Gaines - guard, Peggy Sweat Smith-forward, Carolyn Schraeder Unruh, Yvonne Harrison Council- guard, Carenne Hatcher Miller, (second Row) Coach N.C. Hatcher, Georgia Burgess Strum, Sybil Jones Belcher, Patsy Sanders, Dovie Phillips Fordham, Kay Clancy Holt, Assistant Coach Betty Paul. The five girls to make the All State Team were Allison Christian Schnabel, Peggy Sweat Smith, Carolyn Payne Cook, Joyce Fort Gaines and Yvonne Harrison Council.
Albany Sports Hall of Fame - P.O. Box 72203 Albany, Georgia 31708-2203