Rev. Dale Kelley Reflects on Silver Streak 1965-66 Basketball Team

By Rev. Dale Kelley

Published in The Burg June 2021


The 1965-66 Galesburg High School Silver Streak basketball team started the season remembering the 1964-65 sectional loss to Quincy High School. The game was lost in the final

seconds by a missed lay-up. After the game, Bob Jasperson assembled Barry Swanson, Terry

Childers, and myself to encourage us and stated that the Silver Streaks would not end the next

season with a sectional loss. The determination to show the Silver Streaks could become

champions in the 1965-66 started the evening of the sectional loss to Quincy. Throughout the summer, the entire team worked around the clock to improve our overall game.

The 1965 -66 Silver Streak Basketball season started with six (6) wins, followed by two (2) losses in a row to Quincy and Marshall. After the two (2) consecutive losses, coach Thiel made a line-up change that resulted in Roland McDougald being moved into the starting line-up to a point guard position and Barry Swanson moved to a forward position, which started the our

twenty-one (21) game winning streak.

I am honored to share some reflective thoughts as a member of the 1965-66 Silver Streak

Basketball team of Galesburg, Illinois, and dedicate this article to the members of the team.

After fifty years (50) from the last game that I played as a Silver Streak, I reflect back

and acknowledge that the success of the 1965-66 team and my success and all the awards I

received was the result of the collective efforts and talents of the entire team. As a result of the

individual contributions of the team, I became a better ballplayer, a better teammate and overall a better person. From the collective efforts of the Silver Streak Team, and my determination to

continue to play in the sport; I took what I had learned as a Silver Streak to Northwestern

University. For the many lessons that I learned from my teammates on the Silver Streaks and the

opportunities that evolved from the years on the team, I am eternally grateful. I am profoundly

grateful to each member of the 1965-66 team and the Galesburg community who supported

every game – win or lose! God game me some great teammates and below are their contributions to the 65-66 season:


BARRY SWANSON

Our inspiration leader! He was determined that we would not lose; he sacrificed his body and

played with a passion that was totally amazing. I could see it in his eyes that he never thought

about losing. It gave me confidence. As the season progressed, we became more than teammates, we became good friends and I totally see him as a brother and as part of my family. I love both he and Gail and throughout the years thought about his never give up attitude as I pursued my ordination as a United Methodist Minister.


BOB JASPERSON

THE BEST PLAYER ON THE TEAM. His defensive skills and all-around play are the reason we won twenty-one (21) games in a row. He is also the smartest teammate I have ever had. He guarded the top big man on the other team and always shut him down. Quincy had defeated us during the regular season and during our trip to the state final Bob completed shut down their top big man. We could gamble a lot on defense because we knew Bob was there. He is the best 6’3” ballplayer I have ever played with even those in college.


TERRY CHILDERS

Great teammate! Good defensive player and rebounder. Outplayed many centers who were taller.

Terry helped us beat Benton with his all- around play.


MIKE DRASITES

Great teammate! Excellent rebounder and defensive player; he was an excellent passer for a big

man. Mike teamed with Terry Childers to keep Dave Robish from scoring a lot of points in the

super-sectional game against Springfield which we won in the last minutes of the game.


ROLAND MCDOUGALD

THE BEST PLAYER I EVER PLAYED AGAINST IN HIGH SCHOOL! His skills were unbelievable. We spent hours on the court during the summer improving each other’s game. From an individual standpoint, he could jump just as high or higher; he was a better dribbler, quicker and passer. The only skill that I could beat Roland in was shooting and toughness.

Although Roland did not get the opportunity to play much his junior and senior year his skill as a

player exceeded most players. He made second team all-tournament team in Champaign and

never got into the championship game. ROLAND MCDOUGALD WAS A BIG PART OF

MY SUCCESS AND PLAYING AGAINST HIM IN THE SUMMER MADE ME BETTER. Had to learn to protect the ball otherwise he would have it. We started winning when Thiel inserted him in the starting line-up. I was so glad he was my teammate and not on a competitive team. He could destroy the other team’s whole offense with his quickness and it was no point in the other team trying to press us he was too quick.


BRUCE LaVIOLETTE

Bruce was ranked as one of best six man in the state, if not the best during the 65-66 season. He

made critical free throws in the Springfield and Belleville games to help us win. His dribbling

was unsurpassed as we went into a stall in several games. Bruce was a great all-around athlete in

Football, Basketball and Baseball.


STEVE MARSHALL, LEON LUCKET AND EUGENE FINLEY

These are the other members of the tournament ten. Steve deserved special mention since Barry

would frequently foul out of a game. Steve always performed at a high level once he got into the

game. Steve was always dependable and seldom made any mistakes. Leon and Eugene have

unique skills and they would become better as they worked at it. There were other members of

the team that did not make the tournament ten but made great contributions during the season

and my teammates and I are so grateful for their contributions.


“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." The 65 -66 teams had dreams and led by the inspiration of Barry Swanson we were able the realize all but one. I am so grateful to God that He gave me teammates that shared a common dream. Nobody thought we would get to the championship game, but we did. We believed in each other and dreamed we could beat anyone. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am so grateful for your inspiration and sacrifice; I thank God each and every day for each and every one of you.


God bless, Rev. Dale Kelley (65 – 66)

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