Thursday, November 16, 2017

the fort

How can you not love a gym that was once home to a basketball team nicknamed the Twigs, especially when the town has Branch in its name?  Never mind that the old brick building looks like the Hall of Fame Southwest.  Never mind that the well manicured little community seems to have more civic pride than any we have seen and that their basketball pedigree is real (8 Sectional titles).  Never in our imagination would we have believed that the spot on the map called Fort Branch would be a special place like this. CGS.

Friday, November 10, 2017

it's a girl's game

According to basketball historian Bob Adams Indiana high school girls began playing basketball before the turn of the 20th Century and many schools only fielded girls teams, because "basketball, in the early days, was considered by many to be a 'sissy' sport."  Those teams flourished throughout the state until the Great Depression & World War 2 brought that early history to an end.  In 1975 the IHSAA once again sanctioned girls basketball and 1976 saw the Warsaw Tigers crowned the state's first official post war champion.  Our recent trip to Mooresville's Newby Gym and Indian Creek  (home of the Braves) opened the 2017-18 campaign and girls basketball was on full display.  From those just beginning their hard court careers to those near the end, the second act of Indiana high school girls basketball is no longer just on the sidelines, but firmly in control of the stage.  CGS.   

Monday, October 30, 2017

a good day, part 2

You know you've had a good day of gym hunting when you visit one of the oldest gyms in the state (1924) that was home to a team named the Rappites, once served as a temporary hospital & morgue (in the aftermath of the devastating tornado of 1925), played a role in a Hollywood movie (A League of Their Own) and has been resurrected as a community event center.  Not many old gyms have had as many lives as the Ribeyre of New Harmony, but let's be honest - there are not many towns like New Harmony, a living monument to Utopian ideals.  

You know you've had a good day of gym hunting when an athletic director (Leigh Latshaw) welcomes you with open arms, gives you a tour and unlimited access to a wonderful new gym (compared to New Harmony, Mt. Vernon was built in 1965) and a trophy case full of basketball history.  And even though the Mt. Vernon (Posey) Wildcats have not won a Sectional title since class basketball began (their last title was in 1988), their dedication to the sport is in plain sight.

You know you've had a good day of gym hunting when you visit a town of gymless teams (Stendal) who inherited a World War 2 airplane hanger and turned it into a gymnasium. The appropriately named Aces won all three of their Sectional titles in the 1930s (1931, 1932 & 1939) and their former home is now a lovingly cared for community center.

You know you've had a good day of gym hunting when you discover one of the smallest gyms in the state located above a former hardware store that last hosted a team of local firemen.  This hardwood court was home to one of two teams in Indiana with a mascot named after a character in the comic strip Popeye (Jeeps) and thanks to local businessman Bill Powell, now houses a treasure trove of Wheatland High School history including a letter from a Wheatland player to his parents after their Sectional victory over Freelandville (55-48). On the night before their Saturday matchup with Vincennes our young player (Ron or Bill) closes by asking his folks to "get us up by 8:30 or 9:00.  We will eat breakfast at Sinclair Station at 10:30 (eggs, poached, & tea). Beat the Alices."  Like I said, a good day of gym hunting.  CGS.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

and so it begins...

Day two of practice at the home of the North Posey Vikings.  Yes, the 2017-18 season has begun and the coaches & players from Poseyville hope to add more trophies to a resume that includes 10 Sectional championships and 3 Regional titles.  If hard work and effort are markers of future success, then this group of young athletes are headed for a long run on the tournament trail.  CGS.