A Brief History of Wingate High School Basketball
In the early years of Indiana high school basketball, Wingate was a power house winning the state tournament in 1913 and 1914. Wingate High School fielded its first team in 1907. The Wingate team, known as the Spartans, did not have a gym until 1925 when a building that had been built as a livery stable in 1917 was converted into a gym. Before 1925 the Wingate team was known as the “Gymless Wonders” because Wingate’s home games were played “on the road”, most of them in New Richmond, and most practices were conducted on outdoor cinder courts. Players in early pictures of Wingate teams are dressed in football style pants probably because of practicing outdoors and on cinder courts. In addition to winning the state high school basketball tournament twice Wingate won the sectional five times (Sectionals were not added to the state tournament until 1915.). The Spartans also won the County Tournament three times. Wingate High School closed in 1954 and merged with New Richmond to form Coal Creek Central high School.
Two men who coached at Wingate and nine players from Wingate are in the Montgomery County Basketball Hall of Fame. The coaches are Jesse Wood (1913) and Leonard Lehman (1914). The players from Wingate in the Montgomery County Basketball Hall of Fame are Forest Crane (1913), John “JD” Blacker (1914), Leland Olin (1914), Homer Stonebraker (1914), Jesse Graves (1914), Lee “Pete” Thorn (1916), Alonzo “Lon” Goldsberry (1920), Dallas Shull (1944), and Gary Smith (1954).
Three players from Wingate are in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame: Homer Stonebraker (1914), Lee Thorn (1916), and Alonzo Goldsbury (1920). Jesse Wood who coached the 1913 team is in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.