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LEWIS: Montgomery County Remembers: The start of North and South basketball

It was 49 years ago today that a new chapter began on the hardwoods throughout Montgomery County. On this date, teams representing North Montgomery and Southmont in boys’ basketball stepped onto the court for the first time. The outcome was completely different for the two new county schools. For North Montgomery, the first game resulted in a 70-64 win over Seeger. The win was especially gratifying for North Montgomery coach Chuck Kriston. Not only was it his first win as the Chargers’ head coach but it was also against the school where he had previously been the head coach. The game saw all five North Montgomery starters break into double figures. Leading the way was Jim Tribbett who tossed in a game-high 26 points. Dave Newhouse added 13 points, while Hal Shelton, Ross Foxworthy and Clay Cunningham all tallied 10 points against the Indians (and no that’s not a typo as according to the numerous reports about the game and leading up to the game Seeger was known at the Indians and not the Patriots). That historic weekend continued for the Chargers are they battled county rival Crawfordsville on that Saturday night (Nov. 20). Not only did the Chargers battle the Athenians — they beat them 62-57. The game pitted former teammates against one another. The Chargers got a great game from Newhouse — who had attended Crawfordsville the year before — as he tallied 19 points and 14 rebounds against his former teammates. In addition, Shelton (who had played at Tuttle the year before) played a big role in shutting down Crawfordsville’s inside game. The Chargers limited Crawfordsville center Clint Dennison to just four points after he had lit up Lebanon for 25 the night before. Crawfordsville missed eight shots in the first minute and never led in the game. In addition to Newhouse’s 19 points, Tribbett added 16, while Cunningham added 12 as the Chargers only used six players in the game. Randy Ragsdale led the Athenians with 18 points and Mark Hesser added 12. Southmont’s start was not as good as their rivals to the north. The Mounties opened the season at the New Market gym (as their home court was not yet ready) and dropped a 76-62 decision to the North Salem Blue Devils. The Mounties stayed close through the first half and even led 30-29 late in the second quarter before falling behind 34-30 at the break. An 18-9 advantage for the visitors set the tone in the third quarter and the Mounties dropped the school-opening game. Coach Pat Rady tried a number of players trying to find that right mix. Overall, he used 13 players in the game. Nine of the 13 scored and 25 of the team’s 62 points came from the bench. The starting lineup for the Mounties in the first game was Paul Blix, Denny Henry, Mike Zimmerman, Rick Petry and Dan Wilson. The team was led in scoring in that first game by Wilson and Zimmerman as each had 10 points and Blix added nine. After the Mounties dropped a 60-55 decision to Covington, they did manage to pick up the school’s first victory on Dec. 3 in the team’s third outing of the year. In that game, the team beat North Vermillion 69-55 at New Market. Once again, Coach Rady used a variety of players as 11 players saw action. Out of those 11, 10 scored. The scoring was spread. The leading scorer was Gary Evans with 13 points and Wilson added 12. No other Mounties player reached double figures but seven of the 11 players scored between seven and 13 points. 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.

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