LEWIS: Montgomery County Remembers — County basketball in the 1960s

The decade before consolidation in Montgomery County could be deemed as the “Golden Era.” Just about every year the county had a team which put together an outstanding season. In the 10 seasons from 1960-61 to the 1969-70 season one county team won 18 or more games during the regular season a total of seven times. In fact, four times the county had a 20-win season heading into the postseason. Early in the decade the team to beat was New Ross. The Blue Jays went an amazing 58-3 from the 1960-61 seasons to the 1962-63 seasons. In the 1960-61 and 1962-63 seasons the team posted 20-1 regular season marks. In the 1960-61 season the Blue Jays tacked on three more wins on the way to the sectional title beating Linden (45-43), Darlington (52-50 in double OT) and Crawfordsville (51-44 in the final). The Blue Jays followed that up with an 18-3 regular season the next year and went on to win a second sectional title beating Alamo (94-56), Darlington (79-52) and Ladoga (60-46 in the final). In the 1962-63 season the Blue Jays were the favorite in the sectional but fell in the semifinal to Crawfordsville (57-46) after having beat Linden (52-37) in the first round. There were three players who played on all three of these teams. That trio was Don Bayless, Charlie Frederick and Alan Norris. New Ross also put together a county best 19-2 record in the 1964-65 season. While that 58-3 run over a three year period was impressive, it wasn’t the best mark in the decade. That mark belongs to the Darlington Indians who posted a 60-3 record from the 1967-68 season to the 1969-70 season. The Darlington streak started with an 18-3 record in the 1967-68 season and ended with back-to-back undefeated regular seasons at 21-0. The Indians won the county title all three years and won the 1969 sectional title at Lebanon beating Pike (83-69), Zionsville (81-69) and Speedway (56-54 in the final). Five Darlington players — Gary Dale, Rich Douglas, Jim Gable, Dan Nichols, Stan Weliever — were all a part of all three teams. Darlington also led the county with a 14-5 record in the regular season in the 1966-67 season. So while Darlington and New Ross each had four seasons in which they led the county in wins in the decade, Linden and Coal Creek each led the county for one season. Linden led the county with a 15-6 season in 1963-64 and Coal Creek had a county-best 16-5 in the 1965-66.