1969 Oran team was the talk of the town

ORAN, MO (KFVS) - The rich history of the Oran Eagles program is legendary.

Before the summer of 1969, there was March of 1969.

Those were the best days for the Oran boys' basketball team who were unbeaten and playing for their first state title.

The way that season ended became the biggest headline of all.

Inside Oran high school, you might mistake the scene for a class reunion.

However, its basketball that has brought these folks together to reminisce around a trophy case.

It's about a team and a game they watched 44 years ago.

In 1969, the Oran boys' squad couldn't be stopped.

And the town of roughly 1,300 was at a fever pitch.

Coached by future three rivers college legend Gene Bess, the eagles rode an unbeaten record to the state championship game in Columbia's old Brewer Field House.

There they met unbeaten and heavily favored Dixon, led by future NBA player John Brown.

Oran did more than hold its own, and trailed by just two with 12 seconds remaining.

That's when Fred Johnson went to the free throw line for a one and one.

Johnson was called for a rare 10-second free throw violation, and Oran lost by two points.

The video of the free throw is edited out by MSHSAA, but the Dixon radio call still lives.

"75-74, he takes his time, he takes a breath. And it's going to be...too long at the line! Dixon gets the ball, Dixon gets the ball in, Fred Johnson took too much time"

Though the video went dark, the newspaper reports clearly made light of the referee Gene Barth's call

Robey LeGrand's son Rodney was one of the eagles' stars on the '69 squad.

He says even though Oran may have lost, the game put the small town on the map.

Now 44 years later, the eagles are soaring back to Columbia.

They are not intent to change history, but rather make their own.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.