Indiana High School Basketball 1969 Semi-State

Written by Gary Wonning

After years of mediocre teams, the Jac-Cen-Del Eagles were finally fielding a competitive team. 1965 had began the resurgence, and by 1967 hopes had climbed to where it looked like they may advance to the  second and third rounds of the state tournaments.

The 1967 Connersville regional saw a miraculous comeback by the Eagles, with only 9 seconds left in the game , they followed the Lawrenceburg Tigers by seven points, and came back to win the ball game in spectacular fashion, only to suffer defeat in the evening game.

1968 would be different, most of the team from 1967 returned  and with the additional experience of another year, they team was prepared to do battle with the best of them. Making the way through  sectional  play they advanced and handily won the Connersville Regional , they had finally achieved their goal, to play in the Indianapolis Hinkle fieldhouse Semi-State. They were going to play in the field house where many years ago Milan, as portrayed in the movie classic”Hoosiers” had won it all!

Excitement mounted , would this be the year! But as everyone in Indiana understands , if you come from a small school, there is a big difference between playing in a small gymnasium of a couple thousand fans and playing in a large fieldhouse with 12,000 screaming fans and TV cameras rolling.

Jac-Cen-Del fell behind the Richmond Red Devils early and by the time they recovered from the jitters , it was too late, they were behind twenty points. But they realized they could do it. Next year would be different, everyone talked for a year how they wanted another shot at Richmond. The odds of both teams meeting again were unrealistic, but who knows?

1969 progressed favorably, JCD had a perfect season until they suffered a loss at Switzerland County during the final regular season game of the year, it would have been nice to win every game, but it did take a lot of pressure off the team. After beating one team by about 80 points,they were beginning to feel invincible.

Every year, it was the custom to travel from the Connersville Regional to Hagerstown between games and eat at a nice buffet.  These ball games
were a high stress event, peoples lives were changed by this! JCD had won the afternoon game , so off we went to Hagerstown, eagerly hoping to play Richmond in the Semi-state the following week.

The closest regional to us was played at New Castle and was the site where Richmond played . It was about as far north of Hagerstown as Connersville was south. As fate would have it , standing in line in front of us were some fans from Richmond. Obviously we struck up a conversation with them.

They too, were looking forward to going to the next round of the play-offs. We informed them we were from JCD and stated we couldn’t wait to play them next week. A look of disbelief came across their face, as they had beaten us by twenty points the year before.

We simply said, “you beat us last year, now it’s our turn. They had a funny look on their face as they turned away. Now we had to win.

JCD handily won the evening game and were on the way back to the fieldhouse for an encore presentation. Interestingly, Richmond also won, what are the odds of that happening? The stage was set, Jac-Cen-Del would get their rematch.

The excitement was building, the press finally woke up as there might be a story here. Awaiting the next Saturday tensions were mounting, everyone was hoping no one would get sick or injured, the game must go on.

Finally the big day arrived, we were back at the “big barn”. This time the Eagles were ready, they were soaring high. There would be no stopping them, as the game wore on it was apparent who would win. Although Richmond was ranked sixth in the state and JCD was unranked, mainly because of their schedule, JCD won handily and prepared for playing in the Final 8.

It had been proven once again that David could play Goliath and win.

If you enjoy  travel and home town adventures, you can now follow along on your kindle.

Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his website, http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature,landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt,the Canary Islands,much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks,and contact information: please check his website.www.commonsensejourneys.com

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