Monday, December 29, 2008

The Small Town Team That Could

One of my favorite movies is "Hoosiers." When I learned that my home town high school team, Marshall (Illinois) upset Terre Haute South in the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic basketball tournament 46-42, I had that same feeling the movie portrayed when Hickory (Milan) upset South Bend Central (Muncie Central) to win the state championship. The Terre Haute South Braves had been undefeated going into tonight's game, ranking third in the state of Indiana and having beaten Indianapolis' Lawrence North earlier this season. The Marshall Lions' team counts two of my nephews, Logan and Lucas Eitel, among its starting players. The identical twin seniors contributed 12 and 13 points, respectively, in tonight's win. They've both been averaging more than 15 points a game this season. Terre Haute sports commentators have been enamored by my nephews' basketball talent. They were featured in a Terre Haute Tribune story on Christmas Day. The Lions, whose undefeated record is now 11-0 for the season, will face off against Terre Haute North tomorrow night for the tournament championship.


varangianguard said...

Congratulations to Marshall (and your nephews). I saw the results this morning at the TribStar. I myself am a THNV alum, so GO Patriots! (for whatever good that does). I'm sure my father-in-law got to watch your nephews play as he is quite the local sports fan.

My own experiences with Marshall were limited to drinking at a tavern or two on the square when the drinking age was a little different in Illinois. Terre Haute during the summertime! How boring that one had to drive to Marshall, Illinois for a good time!?! lol

Gary R. Welsh said...

I remember those days well, varangianguard. The little town of Marshall turned into a big town on weekends when all of the ISU students came over to drink because the legal limit at that time was 19; it was raised the year I started at EIU, although Charleston never enforced the drinking age law in those days. At one time, I think Marshall had about 12 taverns. Many of them closed after the drinking age law was raised.

Sir Hailstone said...

Nit: Didn't Milan beat Muncie Central to win the 1954 title?

(in the movie it was Hickory over Terhune...)

Gary R. Welsh said...

I always confuse the real life game with the movie's. It was Hickory in the movie instead of Milan. And in real life, the game was against Muncie and not South Bend.

Gary R. Welsh said...

From the Wiki entry:

In the state championship scene, the movie portrays South Bend Central (chosen presumably because Milan had lost to South Bend Central in the 1953 state semifinals) as a predominantly black team. The real team was from Muncie Central High School, which had a predominantly white team with three black members. The movie probably borrowed from the actual history of the 1954 semistate final (state quarterfinals), in which Milan defeated the segregated Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, led by all-time great Oscar Robertson, then a sophomore. In the movie, the South Bend Central coach is played by Ray Crowe, who coached Crispus Attucks in 1954 and would, the next year, lead the team to become the first all-black team in the United States to win a state championship playing against schools with white players. The Attucks team, with Crowe as coach and Robertson as floor leader, would repeat as state champions in 1956, becoming the first undefeated team in Indiana high school history.