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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Scotland has interesting hoops history

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012, at 6:42 PM

The 1953-54 Scotland High School junior varsity boys basketball team consisted of (from left) Bill Kirk, Gene King, Wendell Padgett, Estel Spinks, Jack Bucher, Ronald Williams, Charles Doane and Duane Mooney. Lee Felton (front) was the manager. (Photo courtesy of Jack Bucher).
Scotland High School was a member of the Indiana High School Athletic Association from 1916-17 to 1954-55, when the school consolidated into Bloomfield High School.

Scotland, a tiny rural Greene County school, would never have been confused with a basketball powerhouse.

The Scotties never won a sectional championship, losing to Midland 31-5 in the title game of the 1924 Lyons Sectional.

But Scotland, who first had the nickname of the Highlanders before becoming the Scotties, has had some standout moments on the basketball floor.

On the weekend of Jan. 17-18 in 1936, Scotland defeated Odon and Plainville to win the preliminaries of the Wabash Valley Tournament at Washington.

The Scotties defeated Odon 24-12 as Jack Gainey scored 13 points.

In the title game against Plainville, Gainey hit was proved to be the game-winning free throw as Scotland won 19-18 in overtime, earning the right to be one of 16 teams that got to compete in the finals of the Wabash Valley at Terre Haute.

"I think I was in the third grade when they got to play at Terre Haute," said 1945 SHS graduate Kenny Asdell. "My dad used to haul basketball players to games in his truck.

"It was a very exciting time. They had a couple of big fellows on that team, over 6-feet tall, which was really big back then. Paul Bough and Paul Emery were the tallest on the team."

Asdell said that Gainey had a lot of skills.

"Jack was very fast," said Asdell. "He played basketball in the Army and was good enough to be a professional."

SHS lost to Cloverdale 35-27 at Terre Haute. The Clovers were the defending champions. They lost to eventual 1936 champ Oblong, Ill. 40-20 in the next round. That was the first year that the tournament included over 100 teams (105).

Gainey led with 13 points against Cloverdale. Bob Sparks and Emery each scored six and John Stone added two. Robert Stone and Bough also played.

"It was a big deal for a team from a little jerkwater town like Scotland to get a chance to play at Terre Haute," said Asdell, who added said that Toodie Summerville also was a member of that 1936 Scotland team. "From what I remember, most of the team got the flu before the game against Cloverdale and they were not 100 percent.

"But is was something for a school of maybe 140-150 kids (grades 1-12) to do that well in the Wabash Valley tournament."

Ray Crane was the coach of the Scotties during that season. He also coached in 1936-37.

Knofel Forter took over as coach at SHS in 1937-38 and coached until the 1939-40 season. He had records of 15-7, 14-7 and 16-5, a three-year total of 45-19.

Fortner, who had coached the year before at Marco, then went on to coach at Williams, Midland, Ooltic and Shawswick, earning 340 wins in a 23 year career that landed him in the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

Arlen Fines, a 1952 SHS graduate, said he remembers some lean times as a player with the Scotties.

"I played four years, but I was not one of the main players," he said. "We only won one game my senior year, against Coalmont.

"We did not have enough man power."

Jack Bucher, a 1955 graduate, competed in hoops for the Scotties. He was on the junior varsity team in 1954 and was on the varsity as a senior the next season. He wore No. 25.

"I was in the last class to go through all 12 years at Scotland," he said. "I think there were about 14 in my class.

"The gym was separate from the school. We did not have dressing rooms and it was heated by two pot belly stoves."

The Scotties played from 1916-17 until the 1934-35 season on a dirt court behind the school.

"They started playing in the gym near Christmas 1934," said Asdell, who was a part of the team in 1945 that advanced all the way to the sectional semifinals before falling to Bloomfield. "Before that, they played outdoors on dirt."

Eleanor (Haywood) Kingsley added there were just two rows of bleachers on both sides and no dressing rooms.

"It wasn't very big," said Kingsley. "It was built by the help of volunteers from the community."

Fines added the gymnasium was located across the street from the school, making the trek to and from interesting.

"You had to dress at school and then run across the road to the gym," he said. "It would often be snowy, muddy and cold.

"I remember one time we were getting ready to play Elnora. One of their players stepped in dog poop and had to get it off of his shoes. Those were pretty different times."

Fines said that they used to hang out at Toodie's Restaurant after games.

"There wasn't a lot to do in those days."

Scotland played its final game in March of 1955 at the Linton Sectional. The Scotties concluded their basketball history with a 77-28 loss to Switz City (Central).

Former SHS students were honored last week at Bloomfield High School, recognizing the consolidation that occurred in the fall of 1955. The heritage that started in Scotland also runs through Bloomfield

"We were very, very honored to be remembered," said Bucher, who taught for 34 years at Bloomfield Elementary School. "We are all very, very proud to be from Scotland and to be part of Bloomfield.

"I still go to all the Bloomfield games. I wouldn't miss them."

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

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