Danny Heater Sets National Scoring Record

Charleston Daily Mail
January 28, 1960

Plan For Heater Worked

Wanted Publicity For Scholarship

by Dan Hose
Daily Mail Sports Writer

Is it justifiable to beat a hapless, outmanned high school basketball team by 130 points with the expressed intention of obtaining a college scholarship for the star of the winning team?

That's the puzzler posed after Tuesday's planned scoring outburst by Danny Heater, a senior at Burnsville High School in Braxton County. The six-foot senior, son of an unemployed coal miner, was hotter than his last name as he fired 135 points in the 173-43 rout of little Widen High of Clay County.

Heater's total, which include 55 points in the last 10 minutes, came on 53 field goals in 70 tries and 29 of 41 foul shots...It is recognized as a national (and world) high school scoring record. Burnsville Coach Jack Stalnaker was ready for the inquiries that poured into the town of 731 persons yesterday...He said, "First off, Widen isn't a real tough team. I don't believe in running up scores.

"But we decided in advance that we had to do something to get him (Heater) some publicity. A scholarship is the only way he could ever go to college. That's the only reason we ran up the score.

"I'm real happy for the boy."

How about the Widen coach?

"He probably isn't very happy. He didn't say very much. I don't blame him. I wouldn't be very happy, either."

Widen coach is Robert Stover, a Clay High and Marshall College graduate, in his second year...Widen has "not over 25" boys in the upper four grades, no telephone and only one team in the school system - the varsity.

Returning a call to the Daily Mail from the Elk River Coal & Lumber Co., Stover talked openly about the shellacking..."He's (Heater) a good boy, one of the best around these parts," Stover said. "It was pretty difficult to take, though.

"Actually, on a regular-sized floor he's nothing more than an average ball player. He probably is a college prospect. I certainly don't want to say anything to hurt his chances.

"However, in my opinion he should have been out of there by the end of the second quarter. The officials let him get away with too much. They wouldn't even discuss it with me after the game."

The officials were Bill Kiddy of Weston and Charles Hardman of Glenville.

"Yes, I was watching the clock and, actually, I think it ran about three minutes extra," Stover said.

"I hope this doesn't sound like 'sour grapes' because I'm used to getting beat. Why they chose us, I'll never know. Of course, we're pretty small and couldn't do much. They used a full-court, man-to-man press and fed him. They have a cracker-box gym, too."

Stalnaker, in his third year as head coach at Burnsville, said the gym measures about 30 by 50 feet...Most college and newer high school floors are usually 50 feet wide...

"Danny's dad is a miner, but hasn't worked for I guess, over a year," Stalnaker said. "He is the only boy but he has two sisters. He is a 'B' student and an outstanding boy to coach.

"Under a good college coach, I feel he could develop into a top player. He's just almost six feet but can jump three or four inches above the basket.

"At 153 pounds, he played halfback and was the leading scorer on our football team with 50 some points. He played football his senior year only."

Stalnaker said that Heater has a terrific jump shot and now is averaging 37 points. (He scored 34 last Friday in a 94-54 win at Widen)...He averaged 15 points as a freshman on the varsity, 20 as a sophomore and about 22 last season, his coach said.

"We had to make the boy shoot," Stalnaker said. "I always preach teamwork. We have six players who average in double figures.

"You know what I found out he did after we had our plans set? He went around to each boy and asked them if they'd get mad. When he had 53 points at the half, he wanted to quit there.

114 Points Less For Dan Heater the Next Night

Burnsville High School's 'hot' Heater - that's Danny (135-point) Heater - cooled off last night as Burnsville walloped Tanner, 94-27, at Tanner.

Heater played about 10 minutes and collected 21 points. He was still the game's leading scorer.

Burnsville Coach Jim Stalnaker said, "After his big night against Widen, Danny went right back to his usual team play. I wish he would shoot more. But maybe his arm was tired."

Heater gets a big test on Friday when Burnsville (10-1) meets Troy (10-2). Stalnaker said, "I'll be happy if he gets 21 in that game."

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