The Gymnasiums That Were "The Home of the Trojans"

Submitted by trojan7 on Tue, 06/07/2022 - 21:28

Over the course of 100+ years of Trojan basketball, the Red and Blue have called several gymnasiums their home court. Here is some history about those places:

The early days: When the Trojans first started a basketball program, the team played in what later became the cafeteria at the "old" high school, which of course was located across the street from the current one. Seating capacity was unknown, but space was very limited. The exact dates of when the Trojans played here are not known.

Grant Gymnasium: The Trojans played at Grant Gym, located at the former Grant Junior High on 4th street, for about 35-40 years. Portsmouth played in the Greater Ohio League for much of their time at Grant Gym, and with it came some great memories of outstanding teams and players that fans witnessed. Grant Gym had a unique court in several aspects; it was 94 feet in length, making it one of the only courts of its size in Ohio at the time. It's floor was done in a parquet arrangement, very similar to the old Boston Garden. The gym had a stage in which students sat, and the acoustics of the facility amplified fan noise. It seated approximately 1,500, and there was rarely any empty seats. The GOL games were fiercely competitive, and the Trojans many times were the underdog in this powerful league. Still, Portsmouth entertained the home crowd with some memorable games. In 1953, Middletown came to Grant with one of the state's top teams, and were upset 70-63. The Middies would go on to win the state title, losing only 2 games that season. In 1955, PHS captured the GOL title and went 20-4 for the season. Then in 1961 the Trojans once again won the GOL, and also the Class AA state title under Coach George Heller. In 1964, Portsmouth beat Middletown in 3OT. Dayton Belmont beat the Trojans in 1964 at Grant with star players Bill Hosket and Don May, both of whom would go on to the NBA. Belmont would win the state championship that year. 1964 would be the last season that the Trojans would play in Grant Gymnasium.

In the 1964-65 season, Portsmouth High School began play in a new gymnasium which still stands today on 8th street. Larry Hisle closed out his outstanding career in this gym in 1965, as he made first-team All-American that year. During the 8th street gym's 42 year existence, it was the home of 2 state championship teams, 2 state runnerups, an AP Poll championship team in 1979, and 15 district championship teams. It was where PHS's all-time leading scorer, Craig Tubbs, with 1,485 points, played. It was where Coach Dick Hopkins amassed a remarkable 103-34 record, followed by Coach Tom Smith with a 108-35 mark. Joe Suboticki coached in the 8th street gym from 1988-1991 and compiled an amazing 94-11 record. From 1978-1991, the Trojans went 283-60. The 8th street gym's last game was vs. Ironton, but the closing ceremony was a game vs. Rock Hill in the 2005-06 season. The gym had a seating capacity of 1,865. Cody Farney made the last basket in the gym, which was a 3 pointer.

Today the Trojans play in a 1,700 seat gymnasium that sits just across the street from the 8th street gym. It has a 94 foot college length floor, and has an array of banners which display Portsmouth's prowess as a state tournament power. There is also a middle school gymnasium right down the hall. This gym has already made significant history in its short life, as the Trojans made back to back appearances in the Final 4 in 2011 and 2012. It is the gym in which two Trojans, Wayne Evans and Dion McKinley, scored over 1,000 points in their outstanding careers, while coach Eugene Collins guided PHS to 21-5 and 24-3 records in 2011 and 2012. Portsmouth won the SEOAL title in 2012, with Dion McKinley named the SEOAL Player of the Year, and Coach Collins the SEOAL Coach of the Year. PHS captured another SEOAL title in 2014, tying heavily favored Warren Local for the top spot.