Glory Slater doesn’t want her recent reunion with the 1992-93 Delta High girls basketball team to be the last.
“I plan to have another reunion for you all in five years along with my next year’s team, if you feel me,” she said.
By that time, the team will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Class B state championship — and maybe Slater’s 2013-14 Dumas Ladycats will reflect on a 4A title.
Slater was the coach behind the ’92-93 Delta team — a strong band of eight players whose school was based in the small Desha County community of Rohwer. Some members of that team came together at Slater’s house three weeks ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their crowning achievement, and some of Slater’s current players at Dumas took part in all the enjoyment.
“I enjoyed seeing them again,” said Brenda Jones, Delta’s state tournament MVP in 1993. “Some of them live so far away. Sitting down looking at the DVD brought back a whole lot of memories. We remembered all the plays, what (Slater) had us doing to get there. I had a great time.”
The ’92-93 Lady Warriors finished 37-1, defeating Guy-Perkins 72-67 in the state final at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock. It was a Southeast Arkansas sweep in Class B basketball that season, as Wabbaseka took home the boys crown.
Delta avenged its only loss of the season in defeating Guy-Perkins. It came in the Metro Classic in Little Rock, and it served as motivation for the rest of the campaign, Jones said.
She also recalled being infuriated when one of Guy-Perkins’ players turned cartwheels after that game.
“Doing that cartwheel, we knew we wanted to meet them again,” Jones said. “We told our coach, we would meet them again.”
The Lady Warriors talked with the current Ladycats about being in better shape than their opponents because they had only six to eight players available and running five laps for every missed free throw during practices. The Lady Warriors practiced against the boys, including Slater’s son Larry Harris.
“They were tough,” Jones said of the practices. “But at the end, we were all glad for it. The girls we had, we were much taller and faster.
“Practicing against the boys helped us step up a notch. That made us stronger and faster.”
The ladies watched the final 1 minute, 17 seconds, of the 1993 championship. Harris, who filmed the game, ran out of tape and missed most of the fourth quarter, according to Slater, but the coach was able to purchase video of the complete game from two different companies.
Jones and her Delta teammate, Taiwan Hill, went on to successful collegiate careers at Arkansas-Monticello, as did Harris. Jones was an All-American for the Cotton Blossoms.
Her daughter, Shakyla Begnaud, was an All-Southeast Arkansas performer at McGehee as a freshman this past season.
Delta High lasted only a few more years after the Lady Warriors’ championship. The Delta Special School District consolidated with the McGehee School District in the summer of 2004 as a result of a state law mandating districts with fewer than 350 students to merge.
The centerpiece of the reunion was a framed photo of the Delta team and a basketball that was raffled off to raise money for the championship rings. A teacher at Delta who was the mother of former Dumas boys coach James “Wish” Patterson won the basketball, and upon his mom’s death, Patterson gave the ball to Slater.
“It sits in my office along with a blanket,” said Slater, Dumas’ coach since 1996. “It serves as motivation for the girls, to see that championship blanket there.”