Holton's Special Link To The Origins Of Basketball

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Holton, Kan. (WIBW)-- The University of Kansas is rich with basketball tradition. The inventor of the game, Doctor James Naismith brought it to KU and coach Forrest "Phog Allen, brought them their first championship. But, Holton, Kansas, a town just over 3,000 in population, can also stake a claim to both basketball legends.

Perhaps no fan base recognizes the importance of basketball better than the fans that cheer for the University of Kansas, but in Holton, at a local floral and antique shop, you will quickly find that they too have a unique connection.

Owner of Expressions, Rogette Branan, knows the story, she says, "The rules were kept in Holton for two years under Mrs Pomeroys bed because her husband went to war, James Naismith."

The original rules of basketball, which sold for $4.3 million dollars in 2010, a record for sports memorabilia at the time, were once stored under a bed, in a box, in Holton, Kansas.

In 1928, Holton grad Francis Pomeroy would marry Dr. Naismith's son James in 1933, but when the newly constructed school built their gymnasium in 1932 her future father in law was there to dedicate the court personally and brought coach Allen to referee the games that night.

Branan reflected on what might have lured the inventor of basketball to Holton, saying, "He was proud to come here, see where she grew up and meet her family and to dedicate a court. It had to be important for him because he invented the game."

Holton High School might not come to mind when you think of Kansas sports legends but that dedication in 1932 gives them a sense of athletic pride they hope never fades away.

"It does mean a lot. When you stand here on home basketball game nights the people tend to stand around here and read the plaque and to be tied to Dr. Naismith and Phog Allen, it's something that we feel very special about," said current Holton H.S. Athletic Director Jason Schroeder

In the first game at the gymnasium the Holton girls played against Mayetta and the boys played against Horton.