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Historic Note: 1947-48 JHS basketball team

Posted: November 11, 2012 - 12:19am
The 1947-48 Juneau High School Crimson Bears, standing left-to-right: Coach Les Avrit, Dave Graves, Harold Sonderland, Dudley Smithberg, "Itch" Hansen, and Rod Williams. Front l-r: Gus Adams, Bill Logan, Bill Graves, Bill Schmitz and Bill Sperling. Juneau beat Douglas this season 44-27, 41-33 and 64-28 for the Channel Series and Northern Division Title. The Crimson Bears lost to Ketchikan 46-37 and 35-31 for the Southeast Championship. The teams played a third game which Juneau won 40-25. JHS also placed second in the Gold Medal Tournament, losing only to the Ketchikan All-Stars 65-35. See daily historical photos on page A2 and in Sports. For more historical photos go to Juneauempire.com. The Juneau Empire is celebrating a "Century of the Empire" and is encouraging readers to submit old photos and comments.
The 1947-48 Juneau High School Crimson Bears, standing left-to-right: Coach Les Avrit, Dave Graves, Harold Sonderland, Dudley Smithberg, "Itch" Hansen, and Rod Williams. Front l-r: Gus Adams, Bill Logan, Bill Graves, Bill Schmitz and Bill Sperling. Juneau beat Douglas this season 44-27, 41-33 and 64-28 for the Channel Series and Northern Division Title. The Crimson Bears lost to Ketchikan 46-37 and 35-31 for the Southeast Championship. The teams played a third game which Juneau won 40-25. JHS also placed second in the Gold Medal Tournament, losing only to the Ketchikan All-Stars 65-35. See daily historical photos on page A2 and in Sports. For more historical photos go to Juneauempire.com. The Juneau Empire is celebrating a "Century of the Empire" and is encouraging readers to submit old photos and comments.

Readers have submitted information on Friday’s photo of the 1947-48 Juneau High School Crimson Bears.

The five seated members of the team were known as “Four Bills And A Gus.”

Gus Adams currently resides in Sitka; Bill Logan was known in the banking business as he ran 1st National Bank of Alaska for many years; Bill Graves started, owned and operated Valley Lumber; Bill Sperling is still active and resides in Seattle; and Bill Schmitz was a second generation Juneauite who was born and raised here and after graduating from JHS put himself through college at the University of Washington. Schmitz was fairly prominent and active in the business community, starting and owning Schmitz & Kline C.P.A., which eventually became Schmitz & Buck C.P.A.’s where his son currently works. Bill Schmitz died last year. Gus Adams and Bill Sperling attended the funeral and spoke of the Four Bill’s And A Gus from their basketball days.

It is also noted that Bill Schmitz’s first job, at age 5 was selling newspapers for the, then, Alaska Daily Empire. Schmitz had newsboys, or “newsies,” working under him at age 7 and had saved $1,000 by age 10, a lot of money at that time.

If readers have information they would like to share about historic photos or have historic photos to submit please contact the Juneau Empire at sports@juneauempire.com or find contact information for any editors on our website juneauempire.com.

Juneau beat Douglas this season 44-27, 41-33 and 64-28 for the Channel Series and Northern Division Title. The Crimson Bears lost to Ketchikan 46-37 and 35-31 for the Southeast Championship. The teams played a third game which Juneau won 40-25. JHS also placed second in the Gold Medal Tournament, losing only to the Ketchikan All-Stars 65-35.

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