DANVERS — Seven outstanding athletes, as well as the 1949 state championship golf team, were ushered into the Beverly High Sports Hall of Fame during its 11th annual dinner and induction ceremony at the Danversport Yacht Club on Saturday night.
The latest class of Panther inductees ranged from Claudette Tache Turner (the lone female in this year’s class) from the Class of 1957 to 2002 graduate Scott Gambale.
One can only guess how many more points Tache Turner would have scored if she played now; many of her shots came from beyond the modern 3-point line that didn’t exist six decades ago, when girls basketball had half-court rules.
“This is a pretty special night for me after all these years,” said Tache Turner, who still lives in the same house in Beverly that she did when she was in high school. “I’d say 75 percent of my shots came from a long way out. I used to practice in the gym during study periods, and after school I’d go down when the boys were practicing. They were always nice about letting me take shots.”
Tache Turner, who will celebrate her 75th birthday in two weeks, said her father worked nights and never saw her play, but he saved all the newspaper articles about her games.
She is one of the best pure shooters in Panther history, a playmaker, rebounder and defensive standout who scored 223 points in 10 games during her senior season. Tache Turner’s 37 points in one game was unheard of at that time, but was soon broken by fellow BHS Hall of Famer Emily Witwicki Morency (45).
In her junior year, Tache Turner drove to the basket for a layup with seconds remaining against Ipswich to give Beverly its only unbeaten girls basketball season.
Two of the newest inductees were 1999 graduates. Roger LeBlanc Jr. joins his father, Roger Sr., in the BHS Hall of Fame. LeBlanc starred on the ice, breaking the all-time Beverly hockey scoring record with 86 goals, 86 assists and 172 career points. He also had a fine baseball career. Panthers hockey fans will never forget his breakaway goal with 26 seconds left that gave the Panthers a thrilling 6-5 playoff win over Methuen.