Lady Barons Open With Loss to Angola

Dekalb & Angola got together on Friday night at the Baron gym to do battle in girls basketball. It was the season opener for Dekalb, while the Hornets already had one game under their belts, as they had defeated Bishop Luers this past Tuesday.

In what was truly a game of streaks, Angola broke a 47-all tie with just over 3 minutes to play, and were able to score the final 8 points of the contest, as they won by the score of 55-47.

Hayley Martin at the Free Throw Line

The Barons jumped out to 9-0 and 11-2 leads early in the first quarter, fueled by what would turn out to be a monster game from junior Hayley Martin. But to the Hornets credit, they dug in and displayed some true veteran savvy, and by midway in the second period, they had turned the game around and led 27-15. The teams went to the locker room with Angola on top 29-20.

Dekalb must have “drank the kool-aid” during the break, as they came out and scored the first 10 points of the third stanza to regain the lead at 30-29. It stayed back & forth until the Barons inched ahead by five at 38-33 heading to the final 8 minutes.

But that savvy that I mentioned earlier reared its head in the form of Rachel & Ericka Rinehart, as Angola was able to roar back and take a 5 point lead at 47-42 at the midway point of the fourth. Martin would score the next five for Dekalb to knot the score, but those points would be the last for the Barons on this night, and Angola would walk out of the gym with a hard fought win to go to 2-0.

Martin would end up with 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks in what was an outstanding performance. Equally impressive was the game of Rachel Rinehart for the Hornets, as she tallied 24 points, 5 steals, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Bayley Rinehart added 12 points for Dekalb, while Ericka Rinehart had 11 for Angola.

Dekalb will play again tonight as they travel to Fort Wayne to take on Northside. Angola will host West Noble this coming Tuesday.

A Tremendous Basketball Team From a Bygone Era

In our lives, as we are approaching, living, and even moving towards the latter part of our “middle age” years, we have a tendency to reminisce in a positive way about our high school years. Remembering and embellishing the good, putting the not so good far back in the recesses of our minds.

Something that I like to reminisce and think about, and is always a positive & happy thought, is that when I was in high school, we had a GREAT basketball team. I graduated in 1973. But from my freshman year, until the year 1974 when Manchester won the state championship, Friday & Saturday nights were always “rockin” in the small gym just South of Akron, Ohio.

I look back at those times, and think that it was truly a time of massive cultural change for people who grew up during that period. When Manchester won the title in 1974, one of the most turbulent 10 year periods in American history was coming to an end. It started with the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and over the next decade, we experienced the Vietnam War, violent & peaceful demonstrations everywhere, The Beatles, drugs, clothes & hair styles, the killings of Bobby Kennedy & Martin Luther King, Kent State, Muhammad Ali, Black Civil Rights, the Cold War, landing on the moon, Richard Nixon & Watergate, just to name a few.

Back then, there were 3 classes in high school basketball, and Manchester was one of the smaller schools in “Class AA.”

Manchester was led by 6-10 center, Mike Phillips. After he graduated, Phillips went on to star at Kentucky, where he helped lead them to a National Championship in 1978. But the Panthers also had great players besides the big, burly center. The other starters during the 1973 & 1974 seasons were Tommy Thompson & Tim Neff at forwards, and Jack Sliger & Jeff Roberts at guards.

My senior year in 73, we were undefeated until regional play. Phillips was injured in the district title against Hudson. He couldn’t play the next game, and our season ended in a game against a team from Youngstown.

In 74, Manchester came back with a vengeance. They rolled through their schedule with ease. Included during this time was the last time I ever saw them play before moving to Florida to attend college. It was an early season game against the same, and very much disliked Hudson Explorers. The Panthers won 102-49, which included what I consider the greatest quarter I ever saw a team play. In the second stanza, Manchester outscored Hudson 37-5.

The Panthers had 2 separate 6 point wins during the season. Other than that, they were pretty much unstoppable until the tourney. Their only close game in post season was a narrow, 4 point win over Beloit West Branch.

Besides the starting 5, Manchester’s supporting cast was excellent. Gary Edwards, Joe Schler, Mike Arnold, Bill Dover, Larry Simmons, Bobby Eckert, and Brian Thompson all played key roles in the Panthers success.

As a sidenote, in his junior & senior years of high school, in games Phillips participated in, Manchester was 49-0.

Ah, the good old days!

The Knightstown Gym – A Wonderful Place to Visit

In the state of Indiana, there are numerous places to see and visit with a sports related theme, that don’t cost an arm and a leg,and are just a whole lot of fun.

The Team poses in Front of the Knightstown Gym

I had the opportunity to visit just such a place a few years back with my Summer league baseball team.

If you grew up in Indiana, what is one of the biggest things that we are known for? Well, besides corn, it is the game of basketball. Even though it was invented on the East coast, it was here that high school and college basketball was nurtured and grew into what it is today.

Saying that, what is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about Indiana high school basketball? For me, it is the movie “Hoosiers.” Released in 1986, it starred Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, and Barbara Hershey.

The scenes in the movie that take place in the “Hickory Husker” gym, were filmed in a small gym in Knightstown, Indiana, which is about 20 miles or so East of Indianapoolis, a little ways off of I-70.

Many great scenes from the movie take place there. One of my favorites is when Coach Norman Dale (Hackman), refuses to let one of his players back in the game for not following instructions. He then has to play with only 4 players. According to that player, who is named Rade Butcher in the movie, and is played by Steve Hollar, it took 4 days to shoot that game & that sequence.

Our Baseball Team in the Very Locker Room Where Coach Dale Talked With the Team

Another of my favorite scenes is when the coach “talks from the heart” to his team in the lockerroom after that first game.

When you get to the Knightstown gym, which is now used as a community center, you would never know that this is the famous gym. It seems so small. But once you get inside, it is still almost identical to how it was in the movie.

You are allowed to play hoops, go into the lockerroom, recreate some of the famous scenes from the movie, and all in all, just have a lot of fun.

If you are ever in the area, don’t miss out on a golden opportunity to visit a true “mecca” for basketball fans, the Knightstown gym.

As a sidenote, our family visited the Knightstown gym about a year or so after our baseball team did, and my 3 sons and I played a seven game series of two-on-two. We had the whole gym to ourselves for over 2 hours.

Dincoff & Rinehart Moving on to College Careers

Rachel Dincoff & Bri Rinehart

This past Monday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Bri Rinehart and Rachel Dincoff to the Dekalb TV studio. We were conducting an interview for the Ben Davis Sportstalk Show.

Both just graduated from Dekalb High School this past June. Now that the calendar will shortly be turning to August, we wanted to have the chance to talk with both of them before they left for college to continue their sports careers.

Bri will be attending St. Francis University in Fort Wayne, while Rachel will be going to IPFW, also in Fort Wayne. Rinehart will be playing basketball, while Dincoff will be continuing her track and field career.

The thing that stood out for me while doing the interview was simply the fact that these two fine young women are such good friends. When scheduling the interview, I just wanted to have them both on the same show, not realizing how tremendously well that they get along.

As is typical with young people I’ve had the chance to do the show with, they were both nervous initially. but as the show went on, they got comfortable, and were laughing and telling some great stories.

Bri and Rachel both played four years of varsity basketball at Dekalb. Rachel also was a four year track participant, that culminated with her winning the state championship in the discus this past Spring.

Both certainly seemed to enjoy their careers at DHS. They told some good stories about their experiences, especially stories about playing for Dekalb girls basketball coach, Nick David.

From watching them play over the years, both Bri & Rachel were treemndous competitors who hated to lose. They worked hard throughout their playing days at Dekalb, and the results speak for themselves.

We talked about senior night this past season, when Bri & Rachel played for the final time on the home hardwood. It was a festive and fun filled evening, with senior player and parent introductions that started the evening, and then the game against Heritage.

Then, in the blink of an eye, the fun stopped. With four minutes to go in the game, Bri went hard to the floor while making a cut out on the left wing, and before she hit the floor, she was writhing in pain. A torn ligament in the knee, high school career over.

That’s all behind her now, as she is well on the way to recovery. She expects to play in the Fall.

The day after we did the interview, Rachel was heading to Baltimore to participate in a National track and field event.

As I told Bri & Rachel, it seemed like they had been around forever at DHS. Now that they have left, it is a void that will not be easily filled. Great luck to both of them, as their careers have been unique and enjoyable. They are forever, Dekalb Barons.

The Greatest Play in NBA History

It is so hard to believe how time flies. Two days ago, on May 25th, marked the 25 year anniversary of the day that “Larry stole the ball” against the Detroit Pistons to win the pivotal game five of the 1987 playoffs at the old Boston Garden for the Boston Celtics.

The win gave the Celtics a 3-2 series lead, and they would go on to win the hard fought battle in 7 games.

Sports Illustrated Cover from March 1986 that Larry signed

If you were an NBA basketball fan in what I consider the “Golden Age” of the NBA, this game, and that play were seminal moments that you just don’t forget. I remember exactly what I was doing, and where I was at when “the play” happened.

My wife, and 2 oldest sons, who were only 5 & 3 at the time, were on a vacation in Myrtle Beach. They had gone to bed by the time that the second half was in play, and I had settled in to hopefully somehow will my beloved Celtics to victory. My “circle of buddies,” Gary, Jim, and Chris, were watching in Ohio trying to do the same thing.

It was a great game throughout, that included Celtic center Robert Parrish dropping the Pistons Bill Laimbeer to the floor with a couple of well-timed punches that somehow the officials did not see.

The game came down to the final 20 seconds or so, when with time running out on the shot clock, Isaiah Thomas hit a jumper from the left elbow to give Detroit a one point lead.

I believe there were 13 seconds or so left as the Celtics called timeout. Everyone in the house, as well as those watching, knew the ball was going to be in the hands of “Larry Legend.”

After the T.O., DJ (Dennis Johnson), got the ball to Larry well out on the left wing. Larry hesitated momentarily, looking at the defense that the Pistons had set up. Suddenly, Bird drove hard to the bucket from the left, only to be met by what seemed like the entire Detroit squad. The shot was blocked, it headed toward the out of bounds on the side, and Larry was knocked to the floor in the process. The Celtics Jerry Schichting tried to save the ball, but the refs signaled Piston ball.

If you ever get the chance to watch this entire sequence, stop the tape right here, and watch and notice what everyone is doing. The fans & Schichting argue briefly that it went off of a Detroit player. Dennis Rodman is signaling Piston ball (as well as seemingly gloating). There is a shot of the Detroit bench as they are hooting & hollering. There are 5 seconds left, and the strategy begs for Coach Chuck Daly to call timeout to advance the ball to center court.

While the tape is stopped, focus on Bird. After getting knocked to the floor, does he mope or cry for a foul call? No, while on the floor, he is already calculating the situation. In what still cannot be explained to this day, Thomas hurriedly looks to get the ball from the official to try to inbound it to Laimbeer without calling the timeout.

Over the years, I have only seen this camera shot once, but it is a shot of DJ somehow contorting his body to reverse his path down the court to play defense, to heading for the Boston basket as he realizes Larry is about to create history.

Bird comes up off the floor, and drifts towards Laimbeer so as to not alert Thomas to what he is doing. Thomas lobs the ball over Schichting, and with a perfectly timed “interception move,” he steals the pass. If you look closely, as he turns to pass the ball to DJ, he is standing on his tip-toes so as not to step on the end-line. As he steals it, he is able to stop on a dime, pivot, and throw a perfect pass to a streaking DJ who lays it in with exactly one second on the clock, and the Celtics lead by one. Game over!

Seeing Bill Walton high-fiving his teammates on the bench also sticks out in my mind.

If you put everything into perspective, and realize all that Larry had to “think about” in those few short seconds, it is just evidence that in my opinion, it was the greatest play in NBA history, and it was performed by the greatest player in NBA history.