“Becoming a better ball player and playing basketball for Rushville in the 1970’s couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally. There were a lot of good players both to look up to and to play a long side of. Each day my confidence grew just by playing with those guys,” Simmermon said.
Near the end of his freshman year, Simmermon got in to a varsity game against Jeffersonville. At the time, Jeffersonville and Rushville were in the South Central Conference and Jeffersonville was ranked No. 1 in the state.
Although Rushville lost that game, a few weeks later, sectional play began and as any Hoosier basketball fan knows, that’s when the “real” season begins. It also marks a turning point for the lad from New Salem.
During sectional play, foul trouble resulted in some of Rushville’s upper classmen and starters sitting on the bench. It was then that coach Ken Pennington called Simmermon’s number. Under one of the brightest lights and at a time when teammates needed him most, the freshman came through in a big way by scoring double digit points in the fourth quarter. A few games later, the team claimed the sectional title and Simmermon was named to the all-sectional team. A week later, gutsy play was again rewarded with playing time and Simmermon was selected to the all regional team. From then on and throughout his remaining high school career, Simmermon did not spend a lot of time on the bench.
When asked about the longevity of his scoring mark, he said he’s surprised that it has stood the test of time, citing the addition of the 3-point line and other changes in how the game is now played. Changes that he thought may have the point total surpassed.