One of the most unique basketball shrines in the Show-Me State is north of I-70, in a Missouri River bluff town called Glasgow.

In the high school gym’s lobby alone, it features walls of trophy cases displaying nearly endless hardware, especially of Final Four days long ago and recent.

Look closer. See the plaques hanging from the wall? Some pay tribute to former coach Larry Littrell. And near those throwback uniform tops you’ll spot a nice tribute to Lawrence Butler, a native son who in 1979 won the NCAA scoring title over none other than Indiana State’s Larry Bird.

“It was very humbling,” 1984 graduate Mike Littrell said of wearing the Glasgow uniform.

The Yellowjackets’ success is certainly overwhelming, and it’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted the Glasgow High School Boys Basketball Program with the Class of 2020.

Located about an hour northwest of Columbia, Glasgow has reached 16 Final Fours in Class 1, winning three state championships (1974, 1978, 1980). Dick Royston led the first state title team before Coach Littrell guided the next two state champs.

And that’s just the abbreviated version. In a community overlooking crops on the flood plain, the program oozes with basketball history.

Despite the high school not opening until 1928, Glasgow had a team in 1920, according to a booklet found by current coach Mick Cropp.

The gym, built in 1973, still features wooden chairbacks bolted into a concrete grandstand, whose steep angle helps overflow crowds create an intimidating environment for opposing teams.

As for the Final Four, the Yellowjackets first qualified in 1939 and 1940, and later made a habit of it.

Glasgow was a state runner-up in 1976 and 2008, had eight third-place finishes (1940, 1964, 1968, 1969, 1975, 1982, 2009, 2012) and placed fourth in 1939, 2016 and 2017.

Since 1962, the team has had only seven head coaches  and earned 1,278 victories, with coaches Jim Phillips (174), Royston (119), Littrell (452) and Cropp (386) among the most successful.

Overall, Glasgow has won 37 district titles and 28 conference championships.

All this in a town where pick-up games at nearby Stump Island Park next to the river would last into the early hours of summer evenings.

“At 10 o’clock on a Saturday nights,” Mike Littrell said,  “there’d be 10 players on the court, and eight of them were All-Staters.”

The 1974 team (33-0) beat Greenfield 78-73 thanks to a total team effort after Butler scored 40 and 36 points in two prior games. He later played for Idaho State, edging Bird for the scoring title (30.1 ppg).

“Tonight, Lawrence had only 21 points, but other people put the ball in the hole,” Royston told the Columbia Missourian newspaper afterward. “You can go right up and down the line and call them heroes.”

Assistant coach Larry Littrell was promoted in the summer of 1977 and was later inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. When he passed away in 2008, a eulogy was given by Joe Kleine, who played at rival Slater before enjoying success at the University of Arkansas and then 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association.

“One of the keys for Coach Littrell, every one of his kids, when they put the uniform on, they’d run through a brick wall for him,” former assistant Mike Reynolds said.

The 1978 team (24-7) overcame a 3-4 start but won 21 of its next 24 games, beating Marionville 52-47 in the finals.

“We started with nothing and ended with everything,” Littrell was quoted as saying in a Columbia paper.

The 1980 team (29-1) beat Greenwood Laboratory School 56-43 to win it all after Littrell ditched his man-to-man defensive strategy in favor of a zone.

The other Final Four teams were special, too.

Phillips coached the 1964 and 1968 teams, while Kirby Clark guided the 1969 team.

The 1976 team (31-2) fell to Scott County Central (MSHOF 2016) in the finals 82-71. The 1982 team was 29-1. Glasgow’s teams of 1968 (33-1), 1969 (28-3), 1975 (31-1), 2009 (26-6), 2012 (26-6), 2016 (27-5) and 2017 (27-5) all suffered close semifinal losses to eventual state champions.

From 1974 to 1982, the program was 252-23.

“It’s an honor to coach here at Glasgow,” said Cropp, a 1993 graduate who in November 2020 started his 20th season as head coach. “There are times when people are lined up against the walls, and there are no seats left. Those are awesome experiences.”