By Mark Jurgena
“One can only describe this team ‘The Greatest of Them All.’”
-Frank Pitol. The Wonderful World of Collinsville Basketball. 1976
Well when Frank Pitol makes that statement, there’s nothing else to say.
Once a week during the winter months, we will run a weekly column detailing the historic Collinsville boys basketball national championship season of 1960-61.
This week we are previewing that magical year in Kahok lore.
While the expectations for Collinsville basketball are always high, this season saw only two starters returning from a team that finished the regular season ranked #1 in the state.
However, that 1959-60 season ended disastrously in the title game of their own regional They lost to SWC rival Granite City 72-65.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from March 6, 1960, that title contest saw Granite hit 26 of 32 free throws. They made 14 charity tosses in the 4th quarter. For their part, the Kahoks managed to hit only 15 of 29 from the line.
The Kahoks ended their season with a disappointing 25-3 mark.
Despite that devastating loss, the silver lining was that those two returning starters would each go on to play four years of college basketball in the Big Ten Conference after graduating from CHS.
Seniors Bogie Redmon, a 6-6 center, and Fred Riddle, a 6-3 forward were those two returners. Redmon would play basketball and throw the discus for Illinois while Riddle would play basketball and became Iowa’s starting quarterback for a time during his college days.
According to the Edwardsville Intelligencer from December 2, 1960 coach Vergil Fletcher listed Bob Simpson, Bob Basola, and Ron Mataskis as the remaining starters.
Their opening game was December 3, 1960, at home against Dupo. We will chronicle that game next week.