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BOONE: Waynetown Basketball: The end of an era

Warren Rush was a manager on the 1970 team and has some unusual memories of the final game with Crawfordsville. He recalls, “My job was to keep the shot chart. I remember during the middle part of the third quarter and part of the fourth that I could not watch the game because there was so much excitement. I went to the locker room and stayed for a long time. I finally returned to the gym and watched the final minutes of the game. The shot chart was pretty bare for that part of the game. Coach Fred Johnson asked what happened to the shot chart and when I told him, he just said, ‘Never mind. We won.’” Warren recalled that the crowd noise was deafening, as all the other schools were cheering for Waynetown. Mike Springer was a member of the 1970 team and had this comment: “What I remember most was the crowd noise. We didn’t hear much of what Fred Johnson was saying. When we arrived at the gym, the Crawfordsville fans taunted us. The dressing room was very quiet as we dressed. Coach came in and said very little to us. I think this was the first time Coach said a prayer before the game and away we went.” Mike commented on the post-game activities, “Bob Rosen was our bus driver and decided to take a detour through downtown Crawfordsville; we were escorted by the police. We got to what was called the hilltop where the fire engine was waiting for us. Everyone jumped on and rode it into Waynetown where it seemed like everyone who lived in Waynetown was there to greet us along with a huge bonfire. What a way to end the night.” When the firing was all over for the Waynetown Gladiators and the County schools consolidated in 1971 with Waynetown becoming a part of the North unit known as the North Montgomery Chargers, the old gold and black Tigers which had become the red and white Gladiators had added much to the history of Montgomery County basketball. Their leading scorer was Steve Pierce who scored 1063 points in his career culminating with 478 points in his senior year for a 22.8 average. He had blistered the nets for a single game high of 39 points against Kingman his senior year and had topped 30 three other times as he scored 36 against Alamo, 33 against New Market and 31 against Newport. The second leading scorer was Jim Harpel who put up 809 points in his three year career for a 13.5 average and Kinnard White who had 779 in a three year career. White scored 395 points his senior year to lead the Gladiators. He had a single game high of 37 points against Roachdale that year. In the final year of basketball for Waynetown, Don Pittman lit up the scoreboard for 38 points against Darlington and ended the year with 338 points for a 16.9 average. In the glory days of 1942-1945 Bob Powell played 88 games and scored 701 points while his teammate Junior Barker played in 80 games and scored 685 points. Another outstanding player in the glory days was “Pete” Moore who was a rugged rebounder and defender for the 1944-45 team that went undefeated and won the County, Sectional, and Regional. Pete scored 644 points in his four year career. In 1971, he was named one by the Crawfordsville Journal Review as to Old Timers All-Time Players Team along with County greats Howie Williams, Homer Stonebraker, Ray Greve, and Bill Melvin. Pete became the first of three generation players to play on a Sectional championship team as son Brad played on the 1969-70 sectional winner at Waynetown and grandson Doug played on the North Montgomery team which won a sectional in 1999. The only other family that claims that distinction is the Dickerson family of Crawfordsville. Ralph Dickerson, son Larry and grandson Danny all played on Sectional tourney champs and were all three named to the All-Sectional and All-Regional teams.

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