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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Marco Bears were part of early hoops state tournament

Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at 5:22 PM

The 1912 Marco High School boys basketball team is pictured above. Team members include (from left) Roy Brown, Frank Cross, William Cross, Harry Jamison, Claude Heim, coach Jack Wakefield, assistant coach Cunningham and Dave Small. It was just two years later when the Marco Bears competed in the 1914 state tournament. (Submitted photo).
The beginnings of high school boys basketball post-season play, especially in Greene County, is a little sketchy at best.

The first official game in Indiana dates back to 1894 at the Crawfordsville YMCA and the first state-wide tournament, featuring 12 teams, didn't not begin until 1911.

The first post season state tournament games involving teams from Greene County did not occur until 1914, when all of the teams were part of the state tournament.

At the Indiana University and Armory in Bloomington, Marco was the only local team that participated in the state finals some 96 years ago.

The Marco Bears, coached by Jack "W.J." Wakefield, defeated Connersville, Pendleton and Rockville before being eliminated with a 34-21 loss to Lebanon, who advanced to the next-to-the last game before falling eventual champion Wingate.

As the popularity of the tournament increased, 394 teams played in the 1921 state event, more levels were needed and sectionals, then regionals and later semifinals (eventually called semistates) were born over period of years.

One year after Wingate won it all in 1914, there were 14 sectionals -- at Anderson, Bedford, Crawfordsville, Brazil, Bluffton, Evansville, Franklin, Hammond, Kokomo, Lafayette, Lebanon, Richmond and Rochester.

At the Bedford Sectional in 1915, Newberry and Switz City were the only teams from Greene County that participated.

Newberry lost to Orleans by a point. Switz City defeated Bedford and Orleans before falling to eventual champion Bloomington in the semifinals.

Although Marco was listed as having a team as early as 1911 and we have pictures dating the Bears back to 1912, they did not return to tournament play until 1917.

At the 1916 Bedford Sectional, Linton split two tourney games when Owensburg won 2 of 3, losing to Bloomington in the semifinals. Bloomington again was sectional champ that season.

By 1917, Washington was the host for local teams at the sectional level.

Newberry defeated Linton and Montgomery before being thrashed by Washington 43-9.

Lyons topped Marco and Loogootee before falling to the host Hatchets 89-13 in the title game.

Switz City lost to Washington in the first round.

A year later at Washington, Linton, Lyons, Owensburg were the local teams that played in the sectional.

Bloomfield hosted the first boys basketball sectional in Greene County in 1919. Newberry, Lyons and the host Cardinals were the local teams. Pleasantville of Sullivan County also took part.

Washington won the title that season.

The local teams competed in the 1920 Bloomington Sectional, including Lyons, Bloomfield, Owensburg, Scotland and Marco. The hosts defeated Lyons 23-17 in the title game that season.

Dugger played in '21 at the Sullivan Sectional, apparently their first time in the post season.

Also in 1921, Bloomington hosted Scotland, Switz City, Marco Midland, Lyons, Linton, Owensburg at the sectional. This was the first season that a regional round was added, before the state finals.

Bloomington hosted the same teams from Greene County in 1922, beating Lyons 25-11 in the sectional championship game.

Dugger and Plesantville took part in the tournament at the Vincennes Sectional that same season.

The first time that Greene County played host to a sectional and had a team win a post season tournament came in the same year --1923.

Host Lyons won four games, including a 15-4 thrashing of Loogootee, to claim the first sectional title by a local team in 1923.

They also were the first local team to win a regional, outlasting the competition the same year at Bloomington.

They lost to eventual champion Vincennes 38-10 in the 1923 state finals, which took place at the Old Coliseum in Indianapolis.

What we now know as semistates, then semifinals, were born in 1935.

Greene County has hosted a sectional tournament every season but one -- 2003. The county has had a sectional champion in boys basketball every season with the exception of 2007 and 2010.

That 1912 Marco team was coached by Jack Wakefield with Roy Brown, Frank (Abe) Cross, William Cross, Harry Jamison and Claude Heim as players. Dave Small and a man named Cunningham were apparently part of the Bear team. Cunningham was an assistant coach.

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.

Editor's note: The book Tourney Time by Bill May was used exclusively for research on this story.

1914 State Finals

At Bloomington

Indiana University and Armory

Marco 34, Connersville 10

Marco 39, Pendleton 23

Marco 15, Rockville 6

Lebanon 34, Marco 21

1915 Bedford Sectional

Orleans 23, Newberry 22

Switz City 35, Bedford 15

Switz City 30, Orleans 15

Bloomington 24, Switz City 22

1916 Bedford Sectional

Owensburg 23, Paoli 18

Linton 43, Freedom 21

Owensburg 25, Spencer 24

New Albany 28, Linton 26

Bloomington 33, Owensburg 9

1917 Washington Sectional

Newberry 18, Linton 3

Lyons 11, Marco 6

Washington 15, Switz City 14

Newberry 34, Montgomery 17

Lyons 34, Loogootee 29

Washington 43, Newberry 9

Washington 89, Lyons 13, championship game

1918 Washington Sectional

Washington 47, Linton 12

Lyons 42, Odon 19

Winslow 29, Owensburg 18

Lyons 35, Otwell 17

Washington 36, Lyons 18

1919 Bloomfield Sectional

Bloomfield 26, Montgomery 11

Pleasantville 2, Newberry 0

Sullivan 16, Lyons 15

Washington 42, Bloomfield 7

Pleasantville 29, Loogootee 17

Washington 33, Pleasantville 19

1920 Bloomington Sectional

Pleasantville 23, Fairbanks 12

Lyons 14, Carlisle 5

Smithville 21, Bloomfield 1

Sullivan 36, Owensburg 7

Spencer 16, Scotland 8

Farmersburg 41, Marco 11

Lyons 29, Pleasantville 18

Lyons 26, Farmersburg 18

Bloomington 23, Lyons 17, championship game

1921 Bloomington Sectional

Owensburg 18, Van Buren 15

Scotland 11, Switz City 13

Smithville 71, Marco 9

Freedom 21, Midland 8

Lyons 20, Stinesville 8

Bloomington 56, Linton 7

Scotland 8, Owensburg 7

Lyons 26, Spencer 8

Bloomington 54, Scotland 6

Smithville 21, Lyons 5

1921 Sullivan Sectional

Pleasantville 40, Montgomery 5

Epsom 23, Dugger 8

Washington 43, Pleasantville 4

1922 Bloomington Sectional

Smithville 25, Scotland 5

Spencer 9, Midland 4

Lyons 23, Freedom 12

Owensburg 18, Coal City 17

Bloomington 39, Newberry 9

Smithville 26, Linton 15

Lyons 23, Spencer 8

Owensburg 18, Quincy 17

Lyons 33, Owensburg 4

Bloomington 25, Lyons 11, championship game

1922 Vincennes Sectional

Oaktown 24, Pleasantville 19

Dugger 28, Decker 11

Vincennes 54, Dugger 6

1923 Lyons Sectional

Bloomfield 20, Owensburg 9

Lyons 29, Switz City 7

Midland 24, Newberry 13

Shoals 2, Scotland 0

Linton 23, Bloomfield 9

Lyons 24, Midland 9

Lyons 14, Linton 4

Lyons 15, Loogootee 4, championship game

1923 Sullivan Sectional

Graysville 18, Dugger 14

Carlisle 20, Pleasantville 13

1923 Bloomington Regional

Franklin 15, Seymour 12

Bedford 21, Bloomington 13

Sullivan 28, Brookville 7

Columbus 27, Central 20

Vincennes 59, Hanover 8

Lyons 15, Winslow 12

1923 State Finals

Vincennes 38, Lyons 10

Vincennes went on to win state title

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