BOONE: History of New Ross Basketball — Haffner family key to Bluejays success
March 6, 2019
Donald “Hotshot” Haffner was a star center on two Crawfordsville Athenian sectional winners in the late 20s (1928 and 1929).
Don and his wife Crystal later moved to a small farm near New Ross and had three sons and four daughters. The author remembers driving down 500 South past the Haffner farm many times and noticing the basket nailed on the side of the old barn. The oldest son, Richard, once remarked that when things were going bad and he needed to get away from his problems, he would go out to the barn and shoot baskets for hours. It showed as he led the New Ross Bluejays to their first sectional title in 1954 and was captain and center on the undefeated team that lost to Gary Froebel in the Lafayette Semi-state in 1956. The Jays were 26-1 that year under youthful coach Glen Harper. (Sister Christine was a cheerleader that year).
Brother Phil played on the Bluejay teams of the early 60’s and led the team to the Lafayette Semi-state in 1961. (Twin sister Karon and Sharon were cheerleaders that year.) Phil later returned to the County to coach basketball at Waveland.
The last Haffner son was Ronnie, who played on the 1964-65 team that won 20 games and was a power in the County that year. All three brothers would end their careers on the list of top ten scorers for Bluejays basketball. Richard is the leader with 1,445 points, playing in 97 games in his storied career. Ronnie is 6th on the list with 804 points and Phil is 8th with 731. Richard went on to letter three years at Butler University, playing in the famous 5 overtime game between Butler and Wabash, a game in which five County boys were on the floor at the same time and a game in which Alamo’s Charlie Bowerman scored 53 points to lead the Little Giants to victory. Richard coached at Rockville for two years, and then moved to Noblesville where his son, Scott, became a star for a former Montgomery County legend, Coach Dave Nicholson. Scott was selected for the Indiana All-Star team in 1984, and played at the University of Illinois and Evansville before being drafted in the second round by the Miami Heat; he then played two years for the Heat and one year for the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA.
The Haffner girls contributed a third generation to Montgomery County basketball as older daughter Christine married Mel Todd, the career leading scorer for the Ladoga Canners. They had three daughters Shelley, Kristi, and Missy who all played basketball for the Southmont Mounties in the late 70’s and middle 80’s. Karon (one of the twin cheerleaders) married former Darlington Indian star, George Cox. They had three sons, Phil, Clark, and Craig who starred for the North Montgomery Charger athletic teams in the late 70’s and early 80’s.