Friday, September 2, 2016

limestone country - the trail leads to oolitic

In the planning stages of our limestone country tour we identified a number of old gyms we wanted to photograph & on that list was Heltonville, Shawswick and Oolitic.  Although we didn't realize it at the time (any Hoosier basketball historian surely would have), we were following the trail of Damon Bailey.  Heltonville, where Damon grew up & where he held early morning practice sessions in the old gym, has memorialized Bailey & his legacy in limestone steps away from the former school.  Coming or going, visitors are sure to understand Bailey's importance to the town.  Heading south & west from Heltonville we arrived at the next stop on the Damon Bailey trail - the Shawswick Middle/Elementary School.  Formerly a high school, Shawswick is the site of Damon's now famous 8th grade recruiting encounter with IU coach Bob Knight - a tale immortalized by writer John Feinstein in his book, A Season on the Brink.  After Shawswick the trail led us to Oolitic & the home court of Damon's high school coach, Hall of Famer Danny Bush.  An all-star player in his own right, Bush led his Oolitic Bearcats to back to back Sectional crowns in 1967 & 1968, scoring more than 1400 points in his high school career.  He would go on to become a 3-year starter for Indiana State and an Academic All-American.  In 1990 Bailey & Bush came to the end of their own shared trail in front of 41,000 fans - reaching their ultimate goal, the Indiana Boys Basketball State Championship.  CGS.

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