A column by Mickey Furfari for the Times West Virginian
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Did you ever wonder what is the all-time highest number of points scored in a boys’ high school basketball game?
Thanks to friend Dr. Larry Schwab, I found out who set the world record, and retired attorney John Skinner of Charles Town helped by discovering that person’s telephone number for me.
He is none other than Danny Heater, who now resides in Martinsburg. As confirmed by the West Virginia Archives & History, Heater scored an unbelievable 135 points to set the world record that still stands.
That came on Jan. 26, 1960, when the 17-year old senior at Burnsville High School in Braxton County set the mark against Widen High of Clay County in a 32-minute game.
Heater, who stood only 5-foot-11, made 53 of 70 shots from the field and converted 29 of 41 free throws. While he’s best remembered for his scoring explosion, he also pulled down 32 rebounds and unselfishly dished out seven assists to delighted teammates.
Heater, who turns 72 years of age on Feb. 27, and his wife Carol now make their home in the Martinsburg area. They have been married 49 years.
A native of Burnsville, Danny said in a phone interview on Wednesday that he was encouraged by his coach, Jack Stalnaker, to score as many points as possible in that game to attract attention to the team.
“We talked about this,” he explained. “We had lost our first game that season, then won about 15 straight (in state Class ‘B’ competition).
“Our team was averaging about 90 points per game. I was averaging about 27 points per game myself. We got to the regional round of the state tournament, and unfortunately, got beat.”
Asked how he could rebound so well, he said, “I could jump pretty well, and I had fairly good speed. We shot the ball well and we pressed the ball a lot.
“But we just weren’t getting much publicity! So the coach asked the players to pass me the ball more and see how much we could score that day to get publicity for the school…”