Former Panther still holds strong record

The 1975-1976 Rangely Panther boys basketball team of Kirby Burchett, Tom Staley, Alan Stahlecker, Alan Ducey, Rory Enterline, Bryan Byers, Jeff Anderson, John Cook, Paul Allred, Bryan Fairchild, Steve Menge and David Collins was a high scoring and successful team, and on December 20, 1975 they ended a 17 year win drought against the Rifle Bears.

This Rangely team still holds the winningest season record for the school, winning 21 games and losing only two. All five starters would end up as all-conference selections, Ducey, Stahlecker, Anderson, Fairchild, and Cook, a first in the mighty 10 team Northwestern League. They would score over 100 points five times that year and average 90 points a game. 

They would score 115 points in a state tournament game, a state record that still stands. As the smallest school in AA, a class that no longer exists, they would end the season by capturing the AA State Consolation Championship in Denver.

The game that ended the losing streak by the Panthers was a record setting, all-time, school and state performance by the Panthers. Anderson, the six foot, seven inch center for Rangely, had a career record setting night, scoring 51 points, grabbing 27 rebounds, and shooting an unimaginable 24 for 27 from the field while going three for three from the free throw line, leading the Panthers to a 78-51 win over the Bears. The 51 point individual scoring record ranked as one of the top ten individual scoring efforts for all classes in the history of the state of Colorado at that time. Anderson’s 24 made field goals still ranks in the top five in Colorado prep history, as does his 30 points scored in the second half of the game. 

“You have heard of players being ‘in the zone’”, said Anderson, who now resides in Arizona. “I was deep, deep in that zone. I never reached that level of play again, either in my high school or college career. It is hard to describe but I felt that I could not miss, and I rarely did. “

“I knew we would have a tough league opener at Rifle,” Anderson recollects. “They had  a powerful front line, a 6’9″ all conference center and a 6’3″ all conference forward. It would take a great effort to beat them at their place in our conference opener.”

Up by 13 at halftime, the Panthers went on a scoring blitz to put the Bears away. At one point Anderson scored 25 straight points for Rangely, and gives credit to his teammates for his record setting performance. “We just had an amazing once in a lifetime team that year,” said Anderson. “We ended up having one bad game at state but I will always believe we were the best team in Colorado that year.”

Anderson would end the year averaging 24 points and 15 rebounds per game for the Panthers. He would be the first Rangey High School player to be named first team all-state and would play in the AA all-state game, leading the north squad to victory.

After high school Anderson attended college and continued playing ball in Montana.

Submitted by Jeff Anderson

Special to the Herald Times

1 Comment

  1. I enjoy stories like this on Jeff Anderson. Thank you Herald Times for reaching out to Jeff. These feats are records that have lasted for almost 50 years. Hope to see additional feature stories from the past.

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