Bob Shook: The keeper of the facts for KHS girls’ basketball
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - If you need to know anything at all about the history of Keyser High School girls’ basketball - anything, ever, dating back over 100 years - Keyser’s Bob Shook is your guy.
Bob is the keeper of the facts, the history, the team pictures, the anecdotes; anything you fancy with respect to Black and Gold Lady Tornado basketball.
It doesn’t stop with girls’ basketball and carries over to many of the other sports at Keyser as well, nonetheless, girls’ basketball is most definitely his forte and in recent days, Shook has begun spilling the beans to the masses. Specifically, he’s taken to Facebook where, to the delight of Keyser girls’ basketball fans, there’s a number, a percentage, a point total, a record, a rogue fact, something that scratches every curious itch.
“Very few people know that I have this information. Josh (Blowe) knows it and a few of the parents. At the end of the year, they would have the team dinners and I would take my book up. Josh would tell people, ‘here’s the history book over here,’ but very few people would ever come over and actually look at it because they were busy getting awards and socializing and such,” Shook explains.
“But, putting it on Facebook, I’ve gotten a lot of response from that. The reason I want to do this is, I’m not going to be around forever and I don’t want this information to die. I want it to continue. I plan on giving Josh the book,” Shook explains.
Bob is actually a graduate of Piedmont High School, Class of 1961, where he was the co-captain of the basketball squad his senior season under legendary coach William “Huck” Miers. Shook then went on to serve his country for three years at Andrews Air Force Base, working the Pentagon and Presidential Aircraft, where he had to get a secret clearance. As part of his service, Shook also spent one year in Da Nang, South Vietnam.
Beyond his service to his country, Shook worked 20-plus years for the Kelly-Springfield Tire Plant in Cumberland and then went to work at the Luke Paper Mill, where he worked another 18 years. Shook spent another 14 years as a member of the Mineral County School Board. He and his wife Becky reside in Keyser and have a daughter, Stacey Shook, who resides in the State of Washington.
It was during Shook’s tenure on the school board, and more particularly through the building of the new Keyser High School, that his bond with all things Black and Gold was solidified. Through the years, he’s contributed to Keyser athletics and their associated programs and facilities in many ways.
“I was on the school board when the high school was built. I used to give tours of it before it was totally finished. I worked on a crew with a bunch of volunteers putting the lights up at the baseball and softball fields. In the press box building they did all the wiring, some plumbing, painting, whatever was needed,” Shook explained.
“I always consider myself so close to Keyser High School because my name is on the plaque in the doorway when you come in the front door, from being on the board when the school was built, I kind of take some ownership of it,” Shook detailed.
While this love Shook has for the Black and Gold has manifested itself through volunteer work with physical labors, through administrative work with his time on the board of education, and through mentorship through his involvement as a coach at KHS, Shook’s particularly proud of the efforts he’s put in over the years researching and documenting his many findings on the history of Keyser girls’ basketball.
While the term “painstaking” is often associated with tedious and time-consuming research, there’s no pain involved when you enjoy the work, when it’s a labor of love. For Bob, no stone has been left unturned.
“I have made trips to the Martinsburg Library, Romney Library, Moorefield and Petersburg newspapers, Potomac State College, the Keyser Library, Frostburg State University. A lot of the really old information came from Frostburg State and came from pulling information up on microfiche. I even went to Charleston. The wife and I took a vacation, she went shopping and I went to the Archives,” Bob explained.
According to Shook, “I’ve been around a lot of information. I’ve got a lot of information from yearbooks, Keyser High yearbooks from different people. I have pictures and girls’ names from the 1916-1917 team, from teams in the 1920s and 1930s. I’ve got a team picture or pictures of team members from 1975 up to the present.
“I was looking at my folder, it’s about two and a half inches thick Everything is in the folder. Everything is in a plastic sleeve and I have front and back copies. Nothing gets wet and nothing gets damaged that way. That’s the only way to do it,” Shook detailed.
It’s more than pages in a book, more than points and percentages, for Shook it also represents what seems like a lifetime of memories with Keyser players, coaches, their parents, friends and family. Some stick out more than most.
Shook describes Keyser’s appearance at the 2014 girls’ basketball state tournament as the most memorable; a set of moments he cherishes to this day. It all began with a regional championship victory over Lincoln, and Shook was on the bench.
“I can still see Katie Hoban’s shot going up and off the backboard going in before the buzzer went off. It was in double overtime. That was the shot that won them the regional championship over Lincoln and sent them to the state tournament. The gym turned into bedlam, everyone went crazy,” Shook explained. “Then they cut down the nets. I have a piece of the net. Then we went to Charleston and nobody ever gave Keyser a chance of winning a game down there.”
According to Shook, “Then in Charleston, we played North Marion, and North Marion was rated higher than us. We beat them 63-57. They suffered a loss in the second game against Westside, but they fought tooth in nail, of course Keyser should have won that game but it was such a great experience to be there.
“First off all, the crowd went crazy, because Keyser had never participated in the state tournament in girls’ basketball in the modern era. They had only won one regional game, they are 1-9 in the regional playoffs. Just the atmosphere, to be there, it was special. I had been to state tournaments in Charleston before as a spectator, but that was different to be there as a participant,” Shook recalls.
The stories are numerous, the anecdotal tales gathered over the years are enough to fill a gymnasium to the brim. So too are the numbers and stat lines. What follows, and it’s just a snippet, just a taste, is all from Bob’s archives:
The modern era of girls’ basketball in West Virginia started in 1975. Since that time, Keyser’s girls have played in 945 games total, and 19 of the 45 seasons have been winning ones. Because girls’ basketball season was in the fall in West Virginia and winter in neighboring states, Keyser did not play a Maryland school in basketball until Jan. 17, 1996. There have been nine head coaches in the modern era with Josh Blowe leading the way with a record of 149-106.
In terms of total points scored, Lexi Turner leads the way with a career total of 1,139 points. Other ladies reaching the 1,000 point plateau for a career are Lexi Carr (1,088), Wendy Healy (1,042), and Carley Grady (1,015).
The biggest point spread in a Keyser win was 77 points against Bishop Walsh (91-14) in the 2012-2013 season. The biggest point spread in a Keyser loss was 62 points against Frankfort (82-20) in the 2018-2019 season. The lowest total points scored in a game in which Keyser won was 33 in an 18-15 victory over Ridgeley in 1975. The most points ever scored in a game against Keyser was 95 points by Hampshire in 2000-2001 season.
How about this odd fact: In 1990, the Keyser girls didn’t make a single three-point shot.
A total of 43 young ladies who have played Keyser girls’ basketball have been nominated for the Katharine Church Award.
This is the stuff of Bob Shook’s research, with data that can be analyzed, extrapolated and interpreted for days. It’s a labor of love and just one way in which Bob Shook has contributed to his community.
When it comes to the research of Keyser girls’ basketball and honestly girls’ basketball in general in the State of West Virginia, Shook’s work is unrivaled and leaves a legacy that can be shared, cherished and passed down for generations.