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HISTORY OF THE SOUTHERN BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Contributors - Jack Black, Robert Bradley and Al Kirk
The Southern Basketball League, with Raymond Johnson, sports editor of The
Nashville Tenneseean, as commissioner and Jim Price of Birmingham as league
secretary was organized in the fall of 1947 with a planned 50-game schedule
as franchises were placed in Birmingham (Vulcans), Gadsden (Whiz Kids),
Jackson (Senators), Memphis (Legionnaires), Mobile (Bears), Montgomery
(Rebels), and Nashville (Vols).  The league made its debut on November 29
as Nashville defeated Birmingham 51-50 with Nashville captain Dave Scobey
scoring a game-high 18 points.
Montgomery, led by player-coach Lenny Rader finshed with the league's best
record in the regular season at 43-6.  The Memphis club relocated to Mobile,
AL where Bob Murphy would lead the league in scoring; and the Gadsden team
finished the season in Bessemer, AL.
A round robin playoff tournament between first-place Montgomery, third-place
Nashville and fourth-place Birmingham (the second-place club, Jackson declined
to participate due to player injuries) began on March 5 with Nashville and
Montgomery advancing to the league championship series.  After losing the
opening game of the series, Montgomery won the next three to claim the league
title.
Bessemer, Birmingham, Jackson and Mobile all dropped out of the league
following the season and the Birmingham Steelers, Laurel Oilers and New
Orleans Sports (who had played in the Professional Basketball League of
America as the Hurricanes) were recruited to bring the league back up to five
clubs.
A mid-season All-Star Game was played on January 27 in Montgomery (the Rebels
earned the right to host the game by having the league's best record on
January 20), with the Rebels topping the All-Stars 110-83.  Shorty after the
All-Star Game Bobby Lowther of Montgomery set a new league mark with a
41-point game in a 111-81 win over New Orleans.  The Rebels went on to pace
the league until the end of the season, finishing three games ahead of
Birmingham (compared to a 16 game margin over Jackson in 1947-48).  The
league's postseason tournament was cancelled just prior to the conclusion of
the regular season and the league disbanded after the season ended.
SBL MEMBERSHIP CHRONOLOGY 1947-48 - 1948-49
1947-48
In -  Bessemer Whiz Kids         1947-48           [formerly Gadsden Whiz Kids,
                                                    moved during season]
      Birmingham Vulcans         1947-48           [charter franchise]
      Gadsden Whiz Kids          1947-48           [charter franchise]
      Jackson Senators           1947-48           [charter franchise]
      Memphis Legionnaires       1947-48           [charter franchise]
      Mobile Bears               1947-48           [formerly Memphis Legionnaires,
                                                    moved during season]
      Montgomery Rebels          1947-48 - 1948-49 [charter franchise]
      Nashville Vols             1947-48 - 1948-49 [charter franchise]
Out - Gadsden Whiz Kids                            [to Bessemer Whiz Kids during
                                                    season]
      Memphis Legionnaires                         [to Mobile Bears during season]
      
1948-49
In -  Birmingham Steelers        1948-49           [expansion franchise]
      Laurel Oilers              1948-49           [expansion franchise]
      New Orleans Sports         1948-49           [expansion franchise]
Out - Bessemer Whiz Kids                           [disbanded]
      Birmingham Vulcans                           [disbanded]
      Jackson Senators                             [disbanded]
      Mobile Bears                                 [disbanded]
SBL FRANCHISES BY SEASON 1947-48 - 1948-49

BES - Bessemer Whiz Kids [Bessemer, AL]     1947-48
BIV - Birmingham Vulcans [Birmingham, AL]   1947-48
BIS - Birmingham Steelers [Birmingham, AL]  1948-49
GAS - Gadsden Whiz Kids [Gadsden, AL]       1947-48
JAC - Jackson Senators [Jackson, MS]        1947-48
LAU - Laurel Oilers [Laurel, MS]            1948-49
MEM - Memphis Legionnaires [Memphis, TN]    1947-48
MOB - Mobile Bears [Mobile, AL]             1947-48
MON - Montgomery Rebels [Montgomery, AL]    1947-48 - 1948-49
NAS - Nashville Vols [Nashville, TN]        1947-48 - 1948-49
NOS - New Orleans Sports [New Orleans, LA]  1948-49
1947-48 - BES  BIV  JAC  MOB  MON  NAS
1948-49 - BIS  LAU  MON  NAS  NOS
Notes:
* - franchise disbanded or relocated after season
1947-48 Mobile Bears began season as Memphis Legionnaires
        Bessemer Whiz Kids began season as Gadsden Whiz Kids
SBL YEARLY STANDINGS 1947-48 - 1948-49
1947-48 SBL                              W   L  Pct.  GB
Montgomery Rebels                       43   6  .876  ..
Jackson Senators                        23  18  .561  16
Nashville Vols                          22  21  .512  18
Birmingham Vulcans                      25  25  .500  18.5
Memphis Legionnaires/Mobile Bears*      13  33  .283  28.5
Gadsden Whiz Kids/Bessemer Whiz Kids**   7  30  .189  30
*Memphis moved to Mobile Dec47
**Gadsden moved to Bessemer Jan48
LEADING SCORERS             G   FG   FT  FTA  PTS   PPG
Bob Murphy, Mobile         45  384  142  214  910  20.2
Al Grenert, Montgomery     47  348  100  145  796  16.9
Russell Reid, Mobile       46  332   72   98  736  16.0
Grant Dunlap, Montgomery   49  306   68  100  680  13.9
Shag Hawkins, Birmingham   44  266  145  235  677  15.4
Lou Spitzer, Bessemer      36  287  106  171  660  18.3
Ken Spiker, Montgomery     49  273   97  144  643  13.1
Johnny Stroud, Jackson     31  228  144  208  600  19.4
Bob Skarda. Montgomery     47  259   79  129  597  12.7
Nelson Vinal, Jackson      41  242   77  122  561  13.7
SBL PLAYOFFS
Birmingham, Montgomery and Nashville participated in a round-robin playoff with
the first team with three losses eliminated (Jackson declined to participate due
to injuries)
REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS FOR PLAYOFF TEAMS
BIRMINGHAM VULCANS   G   FG  FTM  FTA   PF  PTS   PPG
Shag Hawkins        44  266  145  235  118  677  15.4
Horace Peterson     29  127   32   53   45  286   9.9
Bubba Ball          42   97   41   59   77  235   5.6
  Kontos            17  100   26   33   26  226  13.3
Billy Rigdon        31  136   33   57   61  205   6.6
Wheeler Leeth       17   56   23   31   29  135   7.9
Ralph Jones         12   55   24   44   34  134  11.2
  Scruggs           14   44   24   42   36  112   8.0
  Allen             13   27    9   16   16   63   4.8
  Roberson           9    7    2    8    4   16   1.8
  
MONTGOMERY REBELS    G   FG  FTM  FTA   PF  PTS   PPG
Al Grenert          47  348  100  145   82  798  17.0
Grant Dunlap        49  306   68  100   71  680  13.9
Ken Spiker          49  273   97  144  117  643  13.1
Bob Skarda          47  257   79  129  100  597  12.7
Lenny Rader         38  191  111  161   78  493  13.0
Douglas Condit      37   93   47   70   61  233   6.3
Julie Silverman     33   68   11   26   37  147   4.5
Manuel Dorsky       23   27   12   19   12   66   2.9
Shorty Irwin        10   21    5    7   33   47   4.7
John Hitson          7    9    2    6    9   20   2.9
NASVILLE VOLS        G   FG  FTM  FTA   PF  PTS   PPG
Felix Ray           41  212   87  133  114  511  12.5
Bill Duvier         37  185   78  122   82  448  12.1
Dave Scobey         22  175   59   79   58  309  14.1
Ken Redmond         42  159   20   37   92  338   8.0
Joe Casey           36  134   19   36   35  287   8.0
Buck Snydor         14   97   58   89   12  252  18.0
  Hunter            13  107   36   54   17  250  19.2
Dan Manning         41   85   17   33   11  187   4.6
  DeJarnet           2    3    0    0    1    6   3.0
  Sanford            2    1    0    1    0    2   1.0
  
SBL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
10Mar48 Nashville 92, Montgomery 74
11Mar48 Montgomery 81, Nashville 81
12Mar48 Montgomery 98, Nashville 72
13Mar48 Montgomery 84, Nashville 57
TEAM ROSTERS
Gadsden/Bessemer - Avery, Raymond Carter, Jim 'Red' Glasgow, Jack Mims, Lindsey
  Oden, Herb Spitzer, Lloyd Spitzer, Raymond Spitzer, Joe Tanner (coach)
Birmingham - Allen, Bubba Ball, Labet 'Fagan' Canzoneri, Manuel Dorsky, Epsman,
  Frank Flemming, Wheeler Flemming (player-coach), Chuck Foster, Harry Gilmer, Jim
  'Red' Glasgow, Ben Harrell, Shag Hawkins, Charles "Shorty" Irwin, Ralph Jones,
  Kontos, Wheeler Leeth, Buford Maddox, Bobby O'Brien, Horace Peterson, Billy
  Rigdon, Roberson, Scruggs
Jackson - Birard, Bledsoe, Pete Caldwell, Eager, Clay Gillam, Hardy, Hodges, Phil
  Hudson (coach), McKissack, Johnny Stroud, Nelson Vinal, Ward, Everett Williams
Memphis/Mobile - Barger, Pete Deem, John Hitson, Danny Long, Bob Murphy, Rakestraw,
  Russell Reid, Ocie 'Eyes' Richie, Wannaker
Montgomery - Douglas Condit, Manuel Dorsky, Grant Dunlap, Elmer Gainer, Al Grenert,
  John Hitson, Charles 'Shorty' Irwin, Buddy Parker, Lenny Rader (player-coach),
  Harry Shor, Julius Silverman, Bob Skarda, Ken Spiker
Nashville - Joe Casey, DeJarnet, Bill Duvier, Travis Howard, Hunter, Jess Mallory
  (player-coach), Dan Manning, Felix "Rope" Ray, Ken Redmond, Sanford, Dave Scobey,
  Buck Snydor, John Sullivan
1948-49 SBL                  W   L  Pct.  GB
Montgomery Rebels           26  13  .667  ..
Birmingham Steelers         22  15  .595   3
Laurel Oilers               22  17  .564   4
Nashville Vols              15  23  .395  10.5
New Orleans Sports           7  24  .226  15
The Postseason tournament was cancelled prior to the end of the season.
LEADING SCORERS               G   FG   FT  FTA  PTS   PPG
Johnny Stroud, Laurel        37  251  153  223  655  17.7
Bob Murphy, Birmingham       36  194  246  299  634  17.6
Alex Athas, New Orleans      31  237  150  206  624  20.1
Darrell Lorence, Birmingham  37  253   71  106  577  15.6
Ken Spiker, Montgomery       39  224  120  160  568  14.6
John Murphy, Birmingham      37  241   65  107  547  14.7
Hal Kottman, Montgomery      39  207  108  165  522  13.4
Joe Casey, Nashville         38  215   64  101  494  13.0
Felix Ray, Nashville         38  187  119  179  493  13.0
Bob Pressley, Laurel         39  191   65  108  447  11.5
TEAM ROSTERS
Birmingham - Ben Chapman (coach), Walt Dropo (coach), Merrill Hubbard, Ralph
  Jones, Darrell Lorance, Bob Murphy, John Murphy, Lindsey Oden, Joe Parker,
  Jim Price (coach), Herbert Spitzer, Lloyd Spitzer
Laurel - Pete Caldwell, Art Grove, Frank Jennings, Jones, Dave Madison, Bob
  Pressley, Russell Reid, Wendell Shows (player-coach), Johnny Stroud, Ray
  Woodward
Montgomery - Darrel Brown, Bob Engle, Art Grove, Johnny Hitson, Charles "Shorty"
  Irwin, Hal "Big 'Un" Kottman, Bobby Lowther, Howie Rader, Len Rader
  (player-coach), Pat Rooney, Julius Silverman, Ken Spiker, Jack Watkins
Nashville - Back, Joe Casey, Dee Compton, Carl Cooper, Bill Duvier, Hallie Hudson,
  Jess Mallow (player-coach), Oren McKinney, Maurice Partain, Felix "Rope" Ray,
  Ken Redmond, Wilt
New Orleans - Alex "Greek" Athas, Jim Bonck, Castix, Bill Dwyer, James "Red"
  Hultburg, Milton "Whitey" Jackson, Jones, Herb Pailet (coach), Larry Parkerson,
  Jack Parkinson, Sterling Scott, Sammy Trombatore, Cliff Wells (coach),
  T.J. Whittaker
SBL BOX SCORES
MONTGOMERY WINS 1948 SBL CHAMPIONSHIP
13Mar48
Father Ryan Gymnasium
Nashville, TN
MOTGOMERY REBELS (84)    FG  FT FTA  PF PTS
Al Grenert, F            10   3   4   2  23
Len Rader, F              4   2   2   2  10
Doug Conditt, C           6   3   3   4  15
Len Spiker, G             5   3   7   3  13
Julie Silverman, G       10   3   3   3  23
Manuel Dorsky, G         10   3   3   2  23
  Totals                 35  14  20  13  84
NASHVILLE VOLS (57)      FG  FT FTA  PF PTS
Bill Duvier, F            4   2   5   5  10
Jess Mallory, F           2   0   2   1   4
Joe Casey, F              3   1   2   3   7
Felix Ray, C              7   3   5   3  17
Ken Redmond, G            5   0   0   2  10
Dan Manning, G            4   1   1   1   9
  Totals                 25   7  15  15  57
Haltime Score - Montgomery 38, Nashville 25
1949 SBL ALL-STAR GAME
27Jan49
Fort Dixie Graves Armory
Montgomery, AL
SBL ALL-STARS (83)             FG  FT FTA  PF PTS
Johnny Stroud, Laurel, F        3   5   7   5  11
Bob Murphy, Birmingham, F       6   4   6   3  16
Joe Parker, Birmingham, C       3   0   0   4   6
Darrell Lorence, Birmingham, G  3   1   1   0   7
Alex Athas, New Orleans, G      9   1   1   4  19
Felix Ray, Nashville, F         2   2   3   2   6
Oren McKinney, Nashville, G     1   1   2   5   3
John Murphy, Birmingham, G      4   7   8   0  15
  Totals                       31  21  28  23  83
MONTGOMERY REBELS (110)        FG  FT FTA  PF PTS
Howie Rader, F                  1   1   2   6   3
Shorty Irwin, F                 5   1   1   4  11
Hal Kottman, C                  7   3   3   2  17
Bobby Lowther, G               12   5   5   2  29
Ken Spiker, G                   8   5   8   4  21
Len Rader, G                    7   7   9   2  21
Darrel Brown, F                 4   0   1   0   8
Bob Engle, F                    0   0   0   2   0
  Totals                       44  22  29  22 110
Halftime Score - Montgomery 51, SBL All-Stars 42
Coaches - Montgomery - Len Rader
          SBL All-Stars - Jim Price (Birmingham) and Wendell Shows (Laurel)
BOBBY LOWTHER'S 41-POINT GAME
30Jan49
Lyons Memorial Center
New Orleans, LA
MOTGOMERY REBELS (111)   FG  FT FTA  PF PTS
Howie Rader, F            3   1   2   1   7
Shorty Irwin, F           7   5   8   2  19
Hal Kottman, C            3   2   4   2   8
Bobby Lowther, G         16   9   9   1  41
Ken Spiker, G             7   7  10   2  21
Len Rader, G              3   5   5   1  11
Bob Engle, G              1   0   0   1   2
  Totals                 41  29  38  11 111
NEW ORLEANS SPORTS (81)  FG  FT FTA  PF PTS
Red Hultburg, F           7   1   2   6  15
T.J. Whittaker, F        10   1   2   4  21
Milton Jackson, C         2   0   0   4   4
Alex Athas, G            11   6   9   3  28
Jim Bonck, G              4   0   0   5   8
Jones, C                  2   1   1   4   5
  Totals                 36   9  14  26  81
Halftime Score - Montgomery 52, New Orleans 42