Class of 2007
He was a scoring machine and described by some as the best basketball player ever to come out of Limestone County. In his senior year at Trinity High School in 1961, Ronnie Fletcher averaged 42 points and pulled down 11 rebounds with six assists per game. That same year, he scored 50 points in six games and, in one game, he filled the nets with 58 points.
Fletcher went on to play basketball at Tennessee State University, accepting a four-year basketball scholarship.
Lt. Col. James Walker was the school's statistician in 1961 . Walker recently recalled Fletcher and how he played basketball in those days.
"I believe he is the best basketball player in the history of Limestone County," he said. He recalled the game when Fletcher scored 58 points against unbeaten and highly regarded Burrell Slater High School in Florence.
"That was the one game that solidified his legend in the community," he said. "At the time, Trinity was 18-2 and Burrell Slater was 20-0. The game was held at Trinity before a packed gym of 300 or so spectators," Walker said.
Others remembered that game and said Burrell Slater had one 6 feet, 8 inch player who was an All-American and several other players who were 6 feet, 5 inches and above in height.
"I remember that team having three players over 6-5 with nicknames like String bean and Beanpole," Fletcher said. "If the 3-point shot was in place back then, I think I might have scored 100 points. Everything was on that night and 80 percent of my shots were from long range."
He developed the outside shot while playing basketball with friends, he said. His uncle, Marvin Higgins, helped him. "He was there for me when I was young," Fletcher said. "He showed me how to shoot the basketball and that helped a lot. Back then , the outside shot just came natural to me." Fletcher remembered the day Trinity coach H.B. Province pulled him down off the bleachers and put a basketball in his hand. "I was there sitting in the bleachers ready to watch a game and he called me down and told me that he had seen me play. He handed me the basketball, put a NO. 6 jersey on my back and put shoes on my feet.
"I still had my blue jeans on when I entered the game," he said . "I think I scored 23 points that night." But after that night in his junior year when coach Province called him down from the bleachers, he never stopped. He was only six feet in those days, but his outside shot made up the difference he lacked in size.
"I could hit those outside shots, a lot further out than they shoot the three today," he said. "With guys the size Burrell Slater had, you couldn't go inside much. They would not let you." Fletcher is now retired but still lives in Athens. He retired in 2005 after working 25 years at Delphi.