LEWIS: Montgomery County Remembers — Boys basketball sectional history
February 26, 2019
Crawfordsville's 1958 state runner-up team was the last boys basketball team from Montgomery County to make it to the state finals.
Ok, the girls’ basketball tournament is now history as four teams were crowned state champions last weekend and now it’s time for the boys’ tournament to take front and center stage.
Since 1911 the Indiana High School Athletic Association has staged a state tournament and Montgomery County has been a part of every single tournament. Of course, Montgomery County has won three state championships (Crawfordsville in 1911 and Wingate in 1913 and 1914). Since then, the county has been in the final game once (Crawfordsville in 1958). That means it has been 61 years since a county team has been on the big center stage. Will this be the year that all ends? Can one of our county teams make the state finals or win it all?
Of course for that to happen a lot would have to go just right and history would have to be overcome. Since the state went from one class basketball to multi-class no boys’ team from the county has ever made it past the regional. In fact, just getting out of the sectional has been a major accomplishment.
Overall, Crawfordsville has the most sectional titles having won 41 overall titles. However, since consolidation of the schools in Montgomery County during the 1971-72 season, Crawfordsville has won just eight (1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1985, 1989, 2014) of those 41. Since class tournaments started the Athenians have won just one – that coming in 2014 when it won the Frankfort sectional and ended a 25-year sectional championship drought.
The Athenians dominated the decades of the 1970s locally going 14-3 and winning five of the eight sectionals played.
The Athenians have an outstanding 247-105 overall postseason record good for a 70.1 percent mark. In sectional competition the Athenians are 193-65 for a winning percentage of 74.8 percent. Since consolidation that figure is just 35-39 or a 47.2 winning percentage.
There have been 21 state tournaments since class basketball started in 1998 and the Athenians have struggled since that time. In those sectional tournaments the Athenians have gone 10-20 (33.3 percent) with just one sectional title – that in 2014.
Since consolidation occurred North Montgomery has piled up the most sectional titles with 11. Those 11 titles have been pretty spread out with four in the 1970s (1974-75-77), three in the 1980s (1980-83-84), one in the 1990s (1999) and four in the 2000s (2005-06-07-09).
With four titles in the decades of the 2000s the Chargers posted a 10-6 overall record in that decade among the county schools. That’s the second most wins in a decade for the three county schools trailing only Crawfordsville’s 14-3 record in the 1970s. The Chargers also sported a 9-5 record in the 1970s.
The Chargers have an overall 37-47 postseason record which is good enough for a 44.0 percent. Since class basketball came into play the Chargers are 14-16 or slightly higher than their overall percentage at 46.6 percent. The Chargers do have the best sectional winning percentage since consolidation as the school has put together a 34-36 record or winning 48.5 percent of its sectional games.
Southmont has not enjoyed a lot of postseason success since consolidation. In the 47 previous sectionals, the Mounties have come away with just one title – 1994. Overall the Mounties are 15-46 in sectional play or a 24.5 percent and the team is 0-1 in regional action.
Southmont had its best sectional decade in the 1990s when the school went 6-9 and tied Crawfordsville for the most wins in that decade.
Since class basketball began the Mounties are 5-21 for a winning percentage of 19.2 percentage.
As a county the three schools enjoyed the most success in the 1970s when the three schools went 25-16 and won six of the eight sectional titles. Since then the success has taken a slow downward path. There has not been another decade where the county teams have combined for a winning record. In the 1980s the schools went 18-25. That slipped to 17-27 in the 1990s, to 15-26 in the 2000s and just 9-26 in this decade.
Barry Lewis has been playing or covering sports in Montgomery County for more than 40 years and enjoys helping to keep our sports heritage alive with his bi-weekly column for the Journal Review.