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High-scoring games uncommon these days, but they weren't in late 1970s at L & M

Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at 8:09 PM

There have been a number of great individual talents among area high school boys basketball throughout the years, including the last two -- A.J. Graves of White River Valley and Brody Boyd of Union (Dugger).

In recent seasons, there has been no one that averaged at least 20 points per game or scored 30 or more in a game.

But that was not the case in 2008-09. Shakamak junior Billy Newton ended up averaging exactly 20.0 ppg, the first time it happened since Graves departed WRV for Butler five years ago.

After having scored flirted with the 30-point plateau, Newton finally broke the mark this season.

In the season-opener against North Vermillion on Nov. 29, Newton poured in 31 points in a 90-56 victory.

Newton had scored as many as 28 points in a game during his first two years with the Lakers.

It was just four days later that Union (Dugger) senior B.J. Howard went for a career-best 31 points in a 45-41 loss at North Knox on Dec. 2, 2008.

Howard connected on 6 of 11 3-pointers and was 9-for-9 shooting at the foul line. Howard also had nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals by the unofficial stats of yours truly.

Howard, who ended up averaging 13.0 points per game, had scored 25 on three different occasions as a junior.

Jacob Birch, a senior at WRV, became the first player since Graves to score 30 or more at least twice in a season, if memory serves me well.

The senior swing man was easily the most improved player in the area this year. After scoring 9.4 points per game as a junior, Birch, who reportedly was invited to Hoosier Basketball's Top 60 Workout, averaged 16.5 points per game, second to Newton among area players.

Birch scored 30 points in a 64-57 victory over Shakamak on Jan. 23, 2009. He connected on 10 of 15 field goals, including two 3-pointers, and made all eight of his attempts from the foul line.

Birch then scored then outscored the entire Union (Dugger) team in an 83-33 WRV victory Feb. 17, 2009. Birch finished with a career high 38 points.

I believe it was the most points scored by an area player since Graves lit up Washington for 40 points in a 68-60 Wolverine victory at Switz City Feb. 22, 2002.

Speaking of scoring, L & M graduate Mike Misner brought to my attention several standout performances by the Braves during his days as a 5-7 guard.

His brother Bob Misner scored a school-record 47 points against Switz City (Central) on Feb. 7, 1978. That total was missing from my somewhat incomplete game scoring list.

That was the season that Bob averaged 26.1 points per game (tops in the area) while shooting 48 percent from the field (219 of 458). He finished with 549 points in 21 games.

That broke the single-game mark of 46, which was set by Jim Misner against Medora during the 1975-76 season. This was another feat that had slipped by my radar.

During the 1978-79 season. J. Yagle averaged 27.5 points per game for L & M. He scored 30 or more 11 times, including 44 points against Eminence.

Yagle shot 53 percent that year (195 of 386). He also made 188 of 253 free throws, good for 75 percent.

Those numbers are staggering. That is 8.5 free throws made per game and 11.5 shot on average. Lebron James would be happy with those numbers.

Mike Misner was Yagle's running mate some 30 years ago. Misner, who had six games of 31-plus including 38 against Medora, averaged 23.4 points per game in his lone year as a varsity starter.

He averaged 11 free throws attempts per game (143 of 236).

The Yagle-Misner tandem averaged 50.9 points per game. Those numbers would rival the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen days with the Bulls.

But I think the Bulls won more games than the Braves, who finished 6-15 in 1978 and 11-11 under coach Dave Henson in 1979.

Just some interesting hoop numbers, or so I thought.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@yahoo.com.

Boys Basketball

2008-09

Highest scoring games

38 -- Jacob Birch, WRV, vs. Union (Dugger), Feb. 17, 2009 (83-33 win).

31 -- B.J. Howard, Union (Dugger) vs. North Knox, Dec. 2, 2008 (Came in 45-41 loss, made 6 of 11 3-pointers and 9-for-9 FTs to go with nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals).

31 -- Billy Newton, Shakamak vs. North Vermillion, Nov 29, 2008 (Came in 90-56 win).

30 -- Jacob Birch, WRV, vs. Shakamak, Jan. 23, 2009 (Came in 64-57 win, 10 of 15 FGs, 8 of 8 FTs).


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