Midland basketball legend Simmie Hill dies at 66

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Simmie Hill, one of the greatest high school basketball players ever in Western Pennsylvania, died Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was 66.

Mr. Hill starred along with Norm Van Lier on the 1965 Midland High School team, considered by some to be the best team in Pennsylvania boys basketball history.

The Leopards went 28-0 that season and won the PIAA Class AAA state title, competing against schools with much higher enrollments and winning their seven playoff games by an average of 23 points.

Mr. Hill, a 6-foot-7 forward, scored 28 points in the WPIAL championship game against Aliquippa High School that year and scored 31 in a 90-61 win over Steelton-Highspire in the state championship game.

He scored 657 points during his senior season.

He went on to attend Wichita State University and Cameron Junior College before settling in at West Texas State, where he was named a first-team all-American by The Sporting News his senior year.

Mr. Hill played four seasons professionally in the American Basketball Association and averaged 9.7 points per game for the Los Angeles Stars, Miami Floridians, Dallas Chaparrals, San Diego Conquistadors and San Antonio Spurs.

He has been inducted into various local halls of fame, the latest being the Midland Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

He is survived by four daughters: Felicia Jackson and Katenna Hill of Dallas, Nakia Hill of Houston, Davia Shannon-Muhammaf of Los Angeles; one son, Christopher Pipkin of New Brighton; and nine grandchildren.

His family will gather with friends at 9 a.m. Saturday at Greater Faith Family Worship Center, 2033 Midland-Beaver Road, Industry, where a service will begin at 11 a.m.

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Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com or twitter: @paulzeise or 412-263-1720


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