The 1939 Joplin High School Basketball Team made school history by becoming the first state champion. In the regional games Joplin beat Aurora and then on the same day beat Carthage and Neosho. Those three victories allowed the Joplin team to travel to St. Josephs and compete for the state championship. Joplin beat Paseo of Kansas City in the first game 33 to 19. The Kansas City team was previously undefeated and had held all their opponents to no more than 17 points for the year. In the semifinal game the “Red and Green” of Joplin beat the defending state champs of Houston decisively by 12 points. Joplin’s 6’5” junior center, Ross Burns, held Houston’s scoring sensation 6’8” Eugene Watson, to only scoring one point during the game. In the final game Joplin beat St. Louis University High 39 to 31. JHS team captain Dick Bennett led the Joplin squad with 16 points. Four Joplin players were selected to the all-state team: Bennett Burns, Gaylon Enos, and Charlie Green. The 1939 state champs finished the season with 22 wins and only 2 losses. They lost road games at Rogersville and Pittsburg. The remaining members of the state champions were Loren Shaffer, Burleigh Detar, Don White, Bill Warren, Floyd Barnes, Bill Gideon, Louis Malone, Bill Brown, Don Hancock, and coach Claude Elvin “Jiggs” Mikkelsen. Coach Mikkelsen left Joplin High School in 1940 with a record of 68 wins and 20 losses.