New Ross High School Basketball: A Brief History
New Ross played inter-school basketball as early as 1907. However, the school, like several other Montgomery County high schools in the early 20th century, did not have a gym until 1934. Games and practices were held outdoors or in lodge halls, church halls, and commercial stores with large open spaces. New Ross adopted the Blue Jay as the team mascot and wore blue and white uniforms.
Although New Ross was one of the best high school teams in Montgomery County in the 1940s and had some of the best players in the county in those years, the Blue Jays did not win their first tournament until 1954 when they won the Crawfordsville sectional. The Blue Jays went on to win three more sectionals in 1956, 1961, and 1962. They also won the regional tournament in 1956 and 1961. New Ross won the Montgomery County tournament five times: 1956, 1959, 1961, 1962, and 1963.
Ten men who played for New Ross are in the Montgomery County Basketball Hall of Fame: Bob Gimes (1941), Homer Williams (1942), Howard Williams (1945), Jim Bannon (1948), Bernie Burk (1955) Richard Haffner (1956), Mike Stewart (1959), Mike Whitecotten (1960), Charlie Frederick (1963), and Russell Nichols (1963). Howard Williams is in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
New Ross High School has the distinction of having the only Montgomery County high school basketball player to play in the Olympic Games. Howard “Howie” Williams graduated from New Ross High School in 1945, went on to play basketball at Purdue, and then played on the U.S. Olympic gold medal team in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.