Monday, September 26, 2016

limestone country - unionville & the real jimmy chitwood

We all know that the film Hoosiers was loosely based on the 1954 Milan Indians, right?  Well, not so fast.  In the old Unionville School, former home of the Arrows, hangs an aging, but well preserved color photo of the 1966 Sectional Champs - a team that also won the prestigious Wabash Valley Tourney (a 64 team tourney that took place from 1916-1972). That '66 Arrows squad boasted a record of 26-2 and averaged 87.5 points per game (while holding their opponents to 63), but the game that they are best remembered for is the Sectional Final when they defeated Bloomington High 69-68 on a last second shot by Lynn Stevens.  Stevens, now a local barber, remembered that shot in a story done by the Bloomington Herald-Times, "there were seven seconds left when I got the ball.  I thought, I've got to shoot the darned thing, time is running out."  When his defender backed off Stevens took the shot with three seconds left. Nothing but net and the game was over.  A great David vs. Goliath win for Unionville but that's just the beginning of the story.  In the crowd that night was a young basketball player from University High School named Angelo Pizzo (the screenwriter & producer of Hoosiers) who had come to watch his friend Bobby Kent try to upset the hated Panthers of Bloomington. Also on the Unionville team, scoring leader Dan Chitwood.  Well, you can draw your own conclusions here but I have to admit when you tell a tale of an upset victory by a small school in a championship game, won on a last second shot, and throw in a teammate named Chitwood it sounds very much like a film we are all familiar with. CGS.

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