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The 1980 Loogootee Lions: What if????

Bruce Jones ModeratorTop Contributor  ·   · Probably the best Loogootee Lions team that never made it out of a sectional was the 1980 team. I was a junior in school that year and remember the buzz about another trip to the Final 4 going around. They defeated powerful teams Bedford North Lawrence, Vincennes Lincoln, Bloomington North and South, that season. When I say a buzz about going back to the final 4 I mean a strong expectation they would get it done. Bernie and Bob Butcher were the starting guards. Ed Canary was the man in the middle. Richard Burch was a three year starter at forward. I think Eric Ackerman split starts with Wayne Sourdike at the other forward position. They were of course coached by legendary coach Jack Butcher.They rolled into Sectional play with a nifty 19-1 record and drew a pretty strong 17-3 Washington Hatchet team in the opening game of the sectional. The feeling was beat them and the sectional is ours! Using pick n roll plays the Lions ended the Hatchets sectional dynasty of four consecutive sectional titles winning by double digits. Next up was the Washington Catholic Cardinals. Having only won 4 or 5 games that year we all felt this should be easy work. WC came and shot over 80% from the field. I just remember seeing them shoot layups all night against us. The Lions couldn’t find the basket…shooting under 30%. With a deafening roar from all the other schools joining in the WC Cards beat us by 18 points. On the way home I remember the radio announcing the scores and the man saying there is no way this WC-Loogootee game is right…I will have to double check this…I turned it off.I know for many years basketball people considered it one of the greatest upsets in southern Indiana history. This defeat ignited, at times, a pretty heated sectional rivalry with WC all through the 80s and into the 90s. In 1981 the remnants of the 1980 team would make it all the way to Evansville Semi-State before losing to Floyd Central in a tight game 50-47. The 1980 team is a great what if?

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