A DYNASTY, A “GENERAL”, AND A HOOSIER MEMORY

Shots in the Darke

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Such a wide variety of topics in the sports world to discuss in today’s award-winning
column, where to begin? Let’s start with a true dynasty in high school cross country, the Lady Wildcats of Minster. In winning another state Division III title over the weekend the girls from Auglaize County claimed a state record 16th championship, their third in a row, and seventh in the last eight seasons. Talk about a combination of tradition, talent, dedication, and hard work!!

After 17 years as a Cincinnati Red, Joey Votto, if he chooses to continue playing, will be a
free agent as a result of the team declining to pick up a $20 million contract option. Plagued by injuries the past few seasons, the 40-year-old doesn’t fit into the Reds’ plans for next year as a group of young and talented players has arrived at Great American Ball Park. Most likely a first-time Hall of Fame electee, the Canadian was the face of the franchise for many years but Father Time has begun catching up with him and even he became expendable.

Speaking of baseball, how about those Texas Rangers winning the World Series? Through
trades, free agent signings, and the hiring of veteran manager Bruce Bochy, the team went
from a 68-94 record in 2022 to the top of the mountain in taking four out of five from the
surprising National League winners, the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s amazing what almost
$750 million in new player contracts can buy isn’t it?

What are your thoughts upon learning of the passing of Coach Bob Knight? “The General”
had just as many supporters and backers as he did detractors over the course of his career,
particularly the years at the helm of the Indiana Hoosiers. Brilliant, brash, bold, belligerent—all could describe the Orville, Ohio native and member of the 1960 National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes. We don’t need to go into the many details of his past other than to say that he was a complicated person who demanded the best from his players, sometimes to their detriment as well as his.

That leads us to today’s trivia question—the 1976 Hoosiers were the last undefeated
national champions, one of Knight’s three to claim NCAA titles. Can you name at least three of the historic starting five to wear the Crimson and Cream?

Switching to the high school football playoffs locally, there should be some great games this
coming Friday as third round or regional semifinal play begins in the seven different divisions. In D-II Troy’s Trojans face Cincinnati Withrow while in D-III the Red Devils of Tippecanoe tangle with the Celina Bulldogs. In D-V Brookville’s Blue Devils get a rematch with the Spartans of Waynesville in an all-SWBL encounter.

In D-VI Tri-Village’s Patriots (how about Reed Wehr’s seven touchdown game against West
Liberty-Salem) look to defuse the Rockets of Anna while the Versailles Tigers square off with Cincinnati Country Day. Meanwhile, in D-VII the machine known as the Marion Local Flyers takes on Minster’s Wildcats and the St. Henry Redskins meet the state number two ranked Tigers of Ansonia in a battle of Route 118. All games will be played at neutral sites to be announced later this weekend, with all kicking off at 7:00 (with the change back to Eastern Standard Time it’s sure to be dark at game time!).

A quick thought or two on college football games played over the weekend—

—THE survives a first half scare at Rutgers.

—Not a fan of the Texas Longhorns, they stop Kansas State in two overtimes.

—Good to see Oklahoma State knock off Oklahoma in the last game in the foreseeable future of the traditional “Bedlam” series.

—As always it was good to see USC lose another one, this time to the undefeated Huskies of Washington by a 52-42 score. Doesn’t anyone play defense in the PAC-12?

—Can’t say I was rooting for either team in Alabama’s win over LSU.

—Don’t think Michigan needed to steal any signs in their route of Purdue!

The Indiana Hoosiers’ starting five in that historic ‘76 season? Scott May, Kent Benson,
Tom Abernethy, Quinn Buckner, and Bob Wilkerson. It could have been two straight
undefeated seasons as Knight often felt that the ‘75 team was even better. However May
suffered a broken arm late in the season and could play only seven minutes in the regional
finals. This was a game called by many the “best basketball game ever played” as Kentucky’s Wildcats pulled off a 92-90 win, the ‘Cats advancing to the Final Four where they lost in the championship game to UCLA.

I remember that IU-UK classic well—many of my family members and fraternity brothers still haven’t forgiven me as they were at my wedding to Kathleen Moore on that afternoon of March 22, 1975!! Still the best decision I ever made!! Stay healthy and active!!