Athenians take final pre-consolidation sectional

It was only fitting that Crawfordsville and Waveland met in final basketball sectional prior to consolidation in 1971.

Why was it fitting?

These were the two teams which had the most sectional championship trophies in their respective school’s trophy cases. Crawfordsville entered the final tournament with 32 titles, while Waveland had collected the hardware six times, one more than Wingate. The two schools had appeared in the most championships games as well. Crawfordsville had played in a whopping 40, while Waveland had played in 11.

The final “old time” Crawfordsville Sectional was a loaded field. You had Darlington, who was back in the local sectional after being shipped out to the Lebanon Sectional the prior two years, with the best record at 17-3. The final Montgomery County Tournament champs Linden, with the county’s top scorer Daryl Warren, was right behind at 17-4 and the well-coached Waveland Hornets checked in with a 12-9 record, of course there was big Crawfordsville sitting in the wings with a 10-10 record.

Only one of these pre-tournament favorites could walk off with the final trophy. Who would it be?

In the opening night of action, things went as expected. Darlington, behind the 25-point effort of Terry Cain, ousted Waynetown 69-60. In the nightcap, Waveland’s Rodger Gooding erupted for 35 points as the Hornets easily defeated Coal Creek 73-59 despite a great 27-point game from the Bearcats’ Tim Slaughter.

Thursday nights games saw Linden ride the 34-point effort from Warren, who scored at a 29.7 clip during the regular season, in a 60-52 win over a stubborn New Market squad. The Purple Flyers were led by Tom Deck’s 23 points. In the second game, Crawfordsville cruised to a 77-59 win over Ladoga to crush the Canners’ hopes of winning its first sectional title. Crawfordsville used a well-balanced attack as Bobby Reese led the team with 12 points and Dave Newhouse added 11, while Rick Thompson, Mark Stevens and Phil Churchill all added nine points. Ladoga got 19 points for Paul Houston and 10 from Joe Jeffries.

As expected the two semifinal games were thrillers.

Waveland’s duo of Gooding and Ron Bruner combined for 60 team’s 82 points in an 82-77 win over Darlington. Gooding lit up the Hornets for 35 points, while Bruner added 25 and Bob Fowler tossed in 13. Darlington had its heroes as well as Cain tossed in 24 and Gerry Hole tossed in 23. That sent the Hornets into the final game for the 12 time in the school’s history.

Who would be the opponent for the Hornets? Crawfordsville managed to edge Linden 68-64 to end the Bulldogs’ chase to pull off the rare County/Sectional combination in the same year. Crawfordsville was led by Reese’s 23 points. Warren e dead its brilliant career with a 29-point effort to put his at 2,083 points which was then, and still is today, an all-time record for players who have played in Montgomery County.

The sectional final was a high-scoring affair as Crawfordsville led 23-20 after the first period and 49-40 at halftime. The pace did slow a bit in the second half but Waveland could not overcome the Athenians rebounding and fell 80-70. Bruner did everything he could to help the Hornets, as he was playing his final game under his dad, as he was 18 of 23 from the foul line and added seven baskets for a game-high 32 points and Gooding added 21 but only three other Hornets scored in the game. Crawfordsville got 28 points from Reese and a double-double from Clint Dennison who had 15 points and 17 rebounds. Wayne Hubbard and Churchill each added 10 points.

Team members for Crawfordsville were: Jeff Arvin, Dave Caster, Churchill, Dennison, Mike Fox, Hubbard, Brian Keim, Newhouse, Chris Priebe, Randy Ragsdale, Reese, Stevens and Thompson. The team was coached by Paul Curtis.

The All-Sectional Team was made up of Warren (Linden), Gooding (Waveland), Bruner (Waveland), Reese (Crawfordsville) and Dennison (Crawfordsville). The second team was comprised of Cain (Darlington), Hole (Darlington), Deck (New Market), Hubbard (Crawfordsville) and Don Pittman (Waynetown).

The final regular season All-County Team was made up of: Warren, Cain, Reese, Bruner and Deck. The second Team was made up of: Pittman, Gooding, Clay Cunningham (Linden), Slaughter and Jim Tribbett (Darlington).