Memories flooded the inside of the old Crawfordsville High School basketball gymnasium inside the Athena Center on Saturday. The Montgomery County Basketball Hall of Fame inducted 11 new members who played basketball as far back as six decades.
MCBHOF president Fred Johnson was the master of ceremonies for the event. Several hall of fame board members read the accomplishments of each person being inducted. Each recipient took the opportunity to thank everyone involved with their new honor.
The new class was composed of: Joe Des Jean (Wabash College, 2003), Steve Kolbold (Wabash College, 1981), Amanda Canal (Southmont, 2001), Barry Lewis (Special Contributor), Darrell Lee Haas (Coal Creek Central, 1959), Shelly Todd (Southmont, 1979), Tom Speaker (Coach at Linden, 1968-1971), Ross Foxworthy (North Montgomery, 1973), Tom Price (North Montgomery, 1980), Austin Burton (Southmont, 2012) and Jeff Nelson (Special Contributor). Also honored were three graduating senior basketball players. They were Kaleb Swick (Southmont), Devin Guard (Crawfordsville) and Mitch Merica (North Montgomery).
Lewis and Nelson have been writing about Montgomery County basketball for over 55 years combined. Nelson started writing for the Journal Review in 1984 and continues to be a freelance journalist. Lewis started freelance writing for the Journal Review after graduating from Manchester College in 1984. He has also served as the sports editor. Lewis left the Journal Review and wrote sports for an Ohio newspaper and Indiana newspapers in Seymour and Greencastle. Lewis returned to the Crawfordsville area and continues to write for the Journal Review today.
Both writers expressed appreciation to the players, coaches, athletic directors and fans. Lewis said he enjoys writing the stories that make up Montgomery County sports and spoke of the fringe benefit of being a sports writer.
“I had to figure out a way to get into basketball games for free,” Lewis joked. “Writing was the way I did it. But seriously, there have been a lot of great people in the schools that have made this ride enjoyable. I thank them for giving me the opportunity to tell their stories.”
Nelson also expressed appreciation for those associated with county basketball. He reminisced about the first game he covered after moving to Crawfordsville from his home state of South Dakota. He said he had heard about Indiana high school basketball, but the first game put the stamp on the fact that basketball in Indiana is special.
“When I told my friends back home that I was moving to Indiana, they got excited about me covering high school basketball in Indiana,” Nelson recalled. “My first game was Southmont at North Putnam and it went five overtimes. I knew right then that Indiana high school basketball was a special thing.”
Johnson said he hoped to continue the organization that honors county basketball. He said the expenses continue to climb and the donations are quickly spent. He said he would like to see a sponsor come forward to provide a small amount of funding for the plaques each inductee receives.