BOONE: History of Waveland Basketball: Part II

Charlie Priebe played on the Sectional Championship team in 1939 and later married into the Greve family. In 1999, he composed a poem to honor the Greve boys who played on the six sectional championships teams. In 1949, Brother Keith appeared on the scene and the Hornets won the sectional. In 1950; they won the county and in 1951, Keith’s senior year, they won the county and the sectional. That was a rare feat in Montgomery County basketball and had not been done since Ralph Capehart’s Waynetown Gladiators turned the trick two years in a row. The Glads won it in 1943-44 and 1944-45. It was always difficult for a county team to win the county and the sectional in the same year because “big, bad Crawfordsville” hosted the sectional and every county school was gunning for the winner of the county that year in addition to having the prospect of upsetting the Athenians and gaining eternal glory for their school. As a matter of fact, only three county schools won the county Tournament and the sectional tourney in the same year. The aforementioned Waynetown Gladiators and the Waveland Hornets were joined by the New Ross Bluejays of 1955-56 and 1960-61. In its illustrious basketball history, Waveland won six Sectional championships (1935, 1939, 1949, 1951, 1952, and 1953) and were runner-up five times (1958, 1963, 1864, 1967, and 1968). The Hornets won the county Tourney four times (1950, 1951, 1953, and 1955) and were runner-up six times (1933, 1938, 1945, 1954, 1958, and 1971). In a seven-year span (1948-1955), the Hornets won four county titles, four sectionals and had a record of 140-29 for a winning percentage of .828. Cliff Davis graduated from Alamo in 1915 and began coaching and teaching at Greenwood School outside New Ross the next year. At that time a person could teach school with only a high school education. He then taught at Morocco, Brook, and Mt. Ayr, winning his first of his three sectionals at Brook in 1923. He then moved to Waynetown and finished his undergraduate work at Wabash graduating in 1925. After several stops, he returned to Waynetown and retired from coaching in 1957 with a record of 485-238 with 262 of those wins coming in Montgomery County at Linden, Waveland, and Waynetown. Davis was to win three county tourneys, one at Linden in 1937, two at Waveland in 1950 and 1951. He also won the Parke County tourney at Rockville in 1952. His teams won sectionals at Waveland in 1950 and 1951. He coached at Linden for seven years (1935-52) and had a record of 101-61. He spent nine years at Waveland (1942-51) and had a record of 131-63. Finally in his last stop in Montgomery County, he finished up at Waynetown where he made two stops. He coached nine years at Waynetown finished with a record 47-65. The records of his time in the 20s is incomplete. He also coached at Roachdale where he led the Hawks to the State Finals in 1935. This was the last year that the state held a sixteen team finals. This was the coach that Bob Harbison said was like a father to him and the biggest influence on his becoming a teacher. Don Whitecotton was even more complimentary, saying, “There was God and there was Cliff Davis at Waveland and sometimes it was hard to tell the difference.” He also credited Davis with his decision to go into education as did Bob Gooding another star of the Hornets in the late 40s. You will never see the names of many of Waveland’s finest players in the scoring records, but they were important nevertheless. Bob Harbison, Richard “Red” Smith, Dareyl Newell, Dale Mitchell and Jim Mitchell were not high scorers, but they were the ones who hustled for loose balls and played lock-down defense. They could also shoot the ball from outside if the other team was paying too much attention to the big guys inside. I remember this scene like it was yesterday instead of 65 years ago. I was playing on the Ladoga eighth-grade team and we went to Waveland for a game. The referees were two varsity players, Red Smith and Bob Harbison. It was not unusual for varsity players to referee junior high games. I have done so myself. There were no rules against it at that time. When Ladoga came back to the floor to begin the second half, we all watched Smith and Harbison shoot baskets. They never missed! The Ladoga eighth graders were in awe. The next year, we drew Waveland in the county tourney and there they were again—Smith and Harbison--and they never missed. Waveland won the county and sectional that year (1953). We gave them a good game losing 38-34. They were 22-2 that year under first year coach Jim Hannah. I just need to share few words about some of the Waveland players who were instrumental in carving out the legacy that is Waveland basketball. Bob Harbison was a four–year letterman beginning in the 1949-50 season. Bob played on teams that were 85-10 for the four years and won six tournaments, three Counties (1950, 1951, and 1953) and three sectionals. (1951, 1952, and 1953) Bob went on to graduate from Indiana State University in 1977, after spending some time in the military. He took his first and last teaching job at Greencastle and was there for 38 years, as athletic director, elementary principal, and high school principal. He even filled in as superintendent for a while. The high school athletic field is named Robert L. Harbison field after the former Waveland Hornet. Bill Boone is a local sports historian who contributes to the Journal Review.

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