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Darlington repeated its undefeated season in 1969-70

Last week we talked about Darlington’s 1968-69 undefeated season, and in that article I said that was the last team to go undefeated. I got a little ahead of myself as I knew this week’s column would also be about an undefeated Darlington team — this one in 1969-70.

That’s right, Darlington had back-to-back undefeated seasons and some of you were kind enough to remind me that the 1969 team was not the last team to finish the regular season without a loss. At least now I know you are reading.

The 1969 Darlington team was the first team in the county to go undefeated since the 1955-56 New Ross team, which went 26-0 before losing to Gary Roosevelt in the semi-state at Lafayette that year. That was a stretch of 13 years. The county had to wait less than a year this time.

Not only did the Indians have back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, but by the end of the 1969-70 season they had pushed their regular season winning streak to an amazing 46 games — the longest in the state at that point.

Perhaps more amazing was how the Indians won games. They didn’t just beat teams. They crushed their opponents. For the season, the team averaged 89.5 points a game and allowed just 53.5. That’s an average margin of victory of 36 points a game. The 89.5 scoring average was the second best in the state that year.

While this team did not reach the 100-point mark five times like it did the year before, they still hit that mark four times. The first was a 104-61 win over Thorntown early in the season. The Indians’ offense was in high gear down the stretch. In the six games after the county tourney, which they won by beating Coal Creek 89-51, the Indians averaged 101.5 points a game. Nope that is not a typo, 101.5 points a game. That included a 126-63 beat down of Ladoga, a 117-62 win over Granville Wells, and a 110-56 win over New Ross

The team had four starters who averaged in double figures. Leading the way was Rich Douglas who had a 21.1 scoring average. Dan Nichols averaged 17.5 points, Gary Dale had a 13.7 average and Roy Wright chipped in at 11.3. All four were seniors.

As was the case the year before, Darlington was not part of the Montgomery County sectional. It once again was shipped out to Lebanon.

In the first round of the Lebanon Sectional, Darlington crushed Granville Wells 90-47. Douglas led the team with 25 points while Nichols tossed in 20. Dale added 11 and Gable had 10. That set up a showdown with Lebanon, who had beaten Pike 78-59 in the first round.

In the sectional semifinal, Lebanon ended the Indians’ dream season and hopes of back-to-back titles by winning 84-70. Darlington fell behind early, trailed 25-11 after the first quarter and 44-35 at the half. The typical hot-shooting Indians (who hit 49.9 percent of its shots during the regular season) made just 22 of 62 shots from the floor and 26 of 40 free throws in the loss. Overall, there were 47 fouls called and 68 free throws shot between the two teams.

Douglas led the 18th-ranked Indians with 17 points, Nichols (who picked up his fourth foul with six seconds in the first half) added 13, Roy Wright added 12 and Terry Cain had 10. Lebanon, ranked 12th in the AP poll, was led by Gary Batts had 21, Joe Roberts added 16 while Mark Gayer and Steve Perdue each added 12.

The loss ended the season for the Indians who were senior dominated as seven of the 12 players on the sectional roster closed out their high school careers. Team members were seniors Jim Gable, Gary Dale, Bob Waye, Rich Douglas, Stan Weliever, Dan Nichols and Roy Wright, juniors Terry Cain, Garry Hole and Steve Apple, and sophomores Chuck Warren and Jim Tribbett. They were coached by Dave Nicholson, who left Darlington after the season.

The Indians ran its regular-season winning streak to 49 (the last four games of the 1967-68 season 21 in 1968-69 season, 21 in 1969-70 season) by winning the first three games of the 1970-71 season before falling to Thorntown 63-61 to end one of the most impressive streaks in all of sports by a Montgomery County team. Darlington ended its final season with an 18-4 record giving it a three-year run of 66-6 and four-year record of 82-10.

Barry Lewis has covered local sports for over 30 years. If he hasn’t witnessed it, he’s researched it and now he’s sharing the history of Montgomery County sports Wednesday’s in the Journal Review.

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