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Seymour 1969-70 Season: Coach Barney Scott, Semi-State Loss to Loogootee

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Looking Back at a Dream Season: An Oral History of Seymour Boys Basketball’s 1969-70 Campaign

John Regruth 

March 27, 2024

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The Seymour Owls basketball team after winning the 1970 Bloomington Regional. First row, from left, Dan Deputy (20), Max Siefker (24), Bill Owens (10), Baron Hill, George Green (manager), Jeff Culp (manager). Second row, from left, assistant coach Dick Stickles, Mark Emkes, Richard Growe, Stan Schroer (34), Larry Weber, Rick Mousa, Joe Hackman (22), Gary Plumer (52), Greg Schneck (30), head coach Barney Scott.

As Indiana high school basketball’s March Madness nears its end and Brownstown Central’s boys team bears down on Jackson County’s first-ever hoops state title, fans can already celebrate an exciting season in which local teams distinguished themselves.

Brownstown Central’s girls, led by head coach Brandon Allman, converted a solid season into a life-long memory by catching fire, reeling off six straight tournament wins and making an inspired run to the Class 2A state final (where they ultimately fell to Fort Wayne Luers).

Though Seymour’s boys team bowed out of the tournament early, the Owls continued to advance under fifth-year coach Kirk Manns, winning 12 of their last 14 games and finishing with their first 18-win regular season since 1971-72. Trinity Lutheran, under new head coach Mike Lang, breezed through the Class 1A New Washington Sectional with three double-digit victories before falling in the Loogootee Regional.

Of course, no local team has generated as much excitement as Brownstown Central’s boys.

The consistent Class 2A No. 1 team in the Sagarin Ratings, Dave Benter’s Braves have successfully marched through the first three stages of the state tourney despite the burden of being widely viewed as the odds-on favorite to win the Class 2A state title. Brownstown has enjoyed an outstanding season marked by home-game sellouts, wins over some of the state’s most storied programs and record-breaking individual performances.

For local fans with long-enough memories, Brownstown’s journey may feel familiar. Fifty-five years ago, Seymour’s 1969-70 boys basketball team embarked on a similar expedition through Hoosier Hysteria.

Guided by the program’s winningest head coach, Lloyd “Barney” Scott, and powered by a starting lineup that featured four 1,000-point scorers and two Indiana All Stars, the ’69-70 Owls produced one of the Jackson County’s best-ever seasons, winning 25 consecutive games, occupying a top spot in the rankings all season and making a deep run in the tournament.

As we prepare for new memories to be made this weekend, we thought it would be fun to reminisce about the Owls’ 1969-70 season, as told by players and other participants who lived it.

Part I: The Team

Seymour’s basketball team enjoyed a solid 15-8 season in 1968-69, but with four talented starters returning, fans were eager to see what the 1969-70 team would accomplish.

Three seniors — Rick Mousa (6-foot-5 forward), Stan Schroer (6-1 guard) and Larry Weber (6-4 forward) — returned to the starting lineup, along with junior Baron Hill (5-9 point guard). Another senior, Dan Deputy (6-1 guard), was tabbed to fill the fifth starting spot.

The team’s top reserves were juniors Mark Emkes (6-0 guard) and Max Siefker (5-10 guard), and lanky sophomore Richard Growe (6-6 forward). A collection of juniors — Joe Hackman, Gary Plumer, Doug Richardson, Greg Schneck, Bill Owens and Richard Beatty — added talent, variety and depth to the Owls’ roster.

As the leading scorer and rebounder, Mousa (19 ppg, 15 rpg) was the Owls’ top player. He would go on to earn All-State and Indiana All Star recognition following the 1969-70 season. But with the team averaging 85.2 point per game, the Owls found scoring all over the court. Hill averaged 18.5 points and 5.6 assists, followed by Weber (16.9 ppg, 9 rpg), Schroer (10.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Growe (10.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg).

Dan Deputy (senior guard): Basically, I replaced Stu Silver from the year before. The team was intact, but after Stu graduated, I filled in for him. Stan (Schroer) and Rick (Mousa) were known entities. Larry (Weber) really got good. Larry was an out-of-nowhere type of thing, so that was kind of neat.

Mark Emkes (junior guard): (Mousa) was the leader. He was a senior and he had earned his stripes. People totally respected him. Schroer and Weber were a little shy. Growe was definitely shy. Hill was not. On that starting crew, the two who would speak up the most were Mousa, first, and then Hill would be a close second. Baron was a true star. Not only tremendous speed but also great ball handling and a great shot.

Mickey Beck (former Seymour player and athletics director; coached the freshman Purple team in 1969-70): Hill just knew how to play. He was a phenomenal passer and didn’t like to lose.

Stan Schroer (senior guard): Baron is probably the fastest point guard in Seymour history. I was only a step slower than him. In football practice, we’d run the 50-yard dash. He’d always beat me by this much. Just barely.

Bud Shippee (long-time radio voice of the Owls, SHS senior in 1969-70): Schroer was a guard, but could play anywhere. He usually guarded the best player on the other team. Stan was a great baseball player, he played professional baseball with the Pirates organization, and his job was to grab that ball out of the net when the other team scored and get it in as quickly as possible. Coach Scott’s plan was the first pass would be to the 10-second line.

Schroer’s athletic prowess was evident early. In 1962, as a 10-year-old, Schroer was the national Punt, Pass & Kick champion. After winning regional competitions in Louisville and Chicago, he won the national competition held on Dec. 30 at Yankee Stadium before the NFL Championship game (now called the “Super Bowl”) between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.

Stan Schroer: I went to Immanuel Lutheran with Larry Weber. He didn’t start playing until he was in seventh grade because he lived out in Reddington and couldn’t get transportation back and forth. We finally got him out in seventh grade, and he was pretty raw. But he ended up being the best shooter we had. If he’d get hot, he could score 30 points a game. Mark Emkes was, with Larry, probably the best percentage shooter we had on the team. Mark always had really good form on his shot.

Rick Mousa (senior forward): I didn’t play with any of those guys in grade school. Stan went to Lutheran school, so he was always my competition when we were playing up through the eighth grade. And then Stan and I really got to know each other as freshmen when he came over to junior high. Larry Weber kind of came out of nowhere. I didn’t know Larry and didn’t ever hear of him playing ball. Then, all of a sudden, this guy was a great basketball player.

Mickey Beck: You kind of knew Mousa and Schroer and Weber were going to be pretty good, but (Growe) was really a find. He turned into a great, great player. When he was in the seventh grade, he didn’t even make a team. In eighth grade, he made the White team. He came in freshman year, he had a pair of tennis shoes that he wore all day long, they were muddy and everything. I told Barney, I think we ought to get Richard a new pair of shoes. Next day, we had a pair of shoes for him.

By mid-season, Growe’s improvement and production became impossible to ignore. The sophomore, who later joined the Harlem Globetrotters’ troupe for four years as a member of the Washington Generals, forced Scott to make a change to his starting lineup. Deputy started the season’s first 11 games before Scott inserted Growe into the lineup against Rushville in January and for the remainder of the season.

Stan Schroer: Barney wanted to get more rebounders in there, so I think that’s the reason he started Growe after Christmas. He started the last part of the season.

Max Siefker (junior guard): Richard was just a sophomore. He was like 6-foot-6, and he was very immature physically. Barney had a player named Charlie Phillips, who was a really good player in the Sixties (Phillips played for Seymour from 1962-64). Barney had Charlie come in and work with Growe for a couple practices. Every once in a while, Barney would pull somebody from his previous teams to work with somebody. Richard developed into a rebounding machine. I think it was a mistake that he didn’t make the Indiana All-Star team. I thought he deserved it.

Stan Schroer: Our reserves were pretty good on that team, too. Our reserve team, the five guys that played behind us, they could have won a lot of games. Max Siefker was an underrated player.

Baron Hill (junior guard): The chemistry actually developed the year before we went undefeated. Great basketball teams, no matter who they are, whether it’s high school, college, or professional, that chemistry is so important. When I say chemistry, I mean I knew all the moves that Rick could make. I knew all the moves that Stan could make. And I knew all the moves that Larry Weber could make. You know their talents, you know their weaknesses and their imperfections, but you also know their strengths. And you play towards those strengths. That chemistry had been developed.

Note: Three members of the 1969-70 team have passed away – Weber in 2009 at age 57, Plumer in 2014 at age 60 and Growe in 2017 at age 63.

Part II: The Coach

Lloyd “Barney” Scott was hired as Seymour’s basketball coach before the 1961-62 season, moving his wife, Marguerite, and children Alice, Gregg and Ellen to town and taking on the challenge of leading the Owls.

Scott hit the ground running, winning sectional and regional titles in each of his first four seasons. He went on to win more games (233), sectionals (nine) and regionals (five) than any other Owl coach, before or since.

By the 1969-70 season, Scott’s program-building efforts were in full churn. With a firm grip on the city’s youth and grade-school basketball, his developmental program was about to produce the best three-season stretch in school history. Starting with the ’69-70 team’s 25-1 record, the Owls compiled a 68-6 record between 1969-72.

Mickey Beck: When (Superintendent Robert B. Bulleit) hired Barney, he said, “I want you to set up the program, and I want you to be able to beat the river schools.” That was New Albany and Jeffersonville, because we had struggled with them for a long time.

Bud Shippee: I can remember Coach Scott telling me that Mr. Bulleitt, when he interviewed him, said, “Do you know how to beat Jeffersonville and New Albany?” Coach Scott was from Jeffersonville, and was a star athlete at Jeffersonville. He said, “Yeah, I know how.”

In his first four years here, we won four straight regionals, and we made it to the championship game of the semistate three of those four years. If he hadn’t been established before, he sure was then.

Alice Scott Laskowski (daughter of Barney Scott, SHS sophomore in 1969-70): I was a little spoiled because I was born in August of ‘54 and right after that my dad took his very first teaching and coaching job in Hagerstown, Indiana. Then Jasper. And then Seymour. I was at every game, and dad was highly successful every place he went, so I didn’t know what a losing season was like.

Max Siefker: He was just a legend. He had respect from everybody, even adults. He was very basketball smart. In grade school, we played in the Shields Gym on Saturday mornings. And Barney would always be up in the stands watching. We ran his offense all through grade school. By the time you got to high school, you knew all the fundamentals pretty well and knew what he expected.

Alice Scott Laskowski: Dad had elementary basketball going on and junior high basketball. And all of the coaches that were doing this, he had selected. They were all running the same offense and defense. Dad had his finger on the pulse. He loved going to the elementary games. He loved working with the young men.

Dan Deputy: In the eighth grade, we ran the same offense that the varsity was running. He had true top-down control of basketball in Seymour. He basically had his thumb on everybody and he would be there on Saturday morning watching the sixth graders play.

Stan Schroer: Barney was really a stern coach, but he was fair. I loved playing for him.

Rick Mousa: He was a disciplinarian. You didn’t screw around. In practice, you were listening and paying attention because he wanted you to be better. He was very organized and had his clipboard. We had fun, but we were all business too.

Mark Emkes: He was extremely organized, extremely disciplined. Barney was a tough coach, but a fair coach. Barney kept us in line. I remember one time, people weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing and he kicked the ball. I think he came pretty close to the top row of seats at Shields Gym. That was his way also of letting us know that we had to get our act together.

Max Siefker: He’d get mad in practice if somebody wasn’t doing something right. He’d yell, but not very often. Instead, Barney would run us. I mean, we would just run, run, run. He kept us in shape. He was big on conditioning and staying in shape because we ran the whole game. He didn’t want anybody getting tired.

Baron Hill: His practices were very intense. As a matter of fact, I felt like sometimes playing the game itself was easier than the practices because he would run the hell out of us.

Mickey Beck: Barney was a disciplinarian. He focused on fundamentals in practice. Fundamental ball handling, fundamental defense, fundamental passing and so forth. He was very good at details. He kept a newspaper file on every team. He’d cut out articles in the Star and the Saturday night papers and he could pull out the scouting reports.

Dan Deputy: He was intense, let’s say that. He didn’t scream that I recall, but you didn’t want to piss him off. His practices were very methodical. It was very much controlled.

Max Siefker: The thing about Coach Scott, he was real cool. You didn’t see him along the sidelines, standing up and yelling at the players. He just sat there on the bench, and when he called timeout, he just explained what different people were doing wrong or what we needed to change. He would just sit on that bench with his legs crossed, and would hardly ever yell.

Alice Scott Laskowski: Dad said when game time came around, “If I haven’t taught it in practice, I’m not going to teach it during a game.” He’d say, “All I’m going to do is be the orchestra leader.”

Bud Shippee: Our big rival was Scottsburg. Their coach, Jim Barley, never sat. He was up screaming, yelling at officials and players. And Coach Scott sat on the bench. I interviewed him years after he had retired, and he told me he only had two technicals in his career, one he deserved and one he didn’t deserve.

After retiring as a coach in 1974, Scott served as an administrator for Seymour Community Schools. Over the next four decades, he remained a fixture at Seymour basketball games and was a ready and willing participant in team reunions until he passed away in 2013.

Alice Scott Laskowski: We lived across the street from the high school, but when dad came home, he was always present with us kids. He never brought (his job) home. He was always there for dinner unless they had a game. He was firm, but fair.

Rick Mousa: I loved the man. I got to know him a lot better after I (graduated) because he could put the fear of death in you. He had a great family, too. His wife (Marguerite) was very supportive. I mean, you talk about a fan. If she didn’t like the way the referees were reffing, you knew she was going to be the first one to holler.

Alice Scott Laskowski: My mother didn’t know a basketball from a football when they got married, but by the time dad got done coaching, you would have thought she was an expert. Every referee was wrong.

Rick Mousa: A great coach, obviously. It just broke our hearts that he never got to the Final Four. We got so close.

Part III: The Gym

Shields Memorial Gymnasium, located on the corner of Sixth St. and N. Pine St., opened in time for the 1941-42 season and hosted its first game, Columbus vs. Seymour, on November 14, 1941. The building remained the Owls’ home until the end of the 1969-70 season. Shields Gym had a capacity of 4,000, about half of the size of the new gym being built nearby on the campus of the high school. The Owls moved to Lloyd Scott Gymnasium for the 1970-71 season and have continued there over the last 54 years.

The Owls won their last 13 games in Shields Gym. The last victory was an 84-83 squeaker over Jennings County in the 1970 sectional championship game. The last loss came the previous year in the 1969 sectional final when Scottsburg defeated Seymour, 103-89.

The final points scored in Shields Gym by a Seymour player came on two free throws by Dan Deputy with five seconds left in the ’70 sectional final. Those shots gave the Owls a three-point lead, rendering moot the last-ever points scored in the gym, a last-second layup by Jennings County’s Brent Sporleder.

Dan Deputy: I lived right across the street from the gym on North Poplar. That’s where I grew up through sixth grade. I was in the gym all the time. I knew the janitor, and he’d let us in. I was the last Seymour player to score points in the old gym. That was back when you couldn’t stop the clock, so we just let Sporleder go down and score a layup, and then the clock ran out.

Mark Emkes: What immediately comes to mind is “cracker box.” I remember how steep (the rows of seats) were. You better not trip coming down the steps because you’d tumble to the floor. There were some bad seats in that place. But, my gosh, the noise. I mean, when the fans got behind it, it was loud. I remember playing at Immanuel Lutheran. On Saturdays, we would get to go into that gym and we would play St. Ambrose or whoever. As a fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth grader, to go in and play in that gym, that was pretty cool.

Stan Schroer: It was a shrine for us back then. It brings back memories of some of the wild and crazy shots we made. I can still see the student section up there, some of the people that were cheering for us. There were a lot of bad seats in that gym. Upstairs there on that one end, you could hardly see. But it was always packed. We had the best fans ever. Businessmen, regular people, I mean, just everybody came to the games on Friday and Saturday nights.

Max Siefker: The younger you were, the further up you sat. In grade school, we’d sit up there in the rafters. When you watch some of these old basketball movies and you see those old gyms and how they’re packed and people are leaning over the rails and yelling and stuff. That’s exactly how it was. In the Sixties in Seymour, Indiana, that gym was pretty full about every game.

Bud Shippee: The popcorn would be popping, and you’d get that smell, and you’d hear the band playing Sweet Georgia Brown. It was just like, the atmosphere, it just, there was an aroma of basketball. On the north side of the gym, if you opened the door and walked in, if you walked four feet, you were on the court. The teams sat at the end of the court back then, not on the side.

Baron Hill: I remember the thrill of walking out on that court and seeing all the fans. And smelling the popcorn. And hearing Sweet Georgia Brown. The noise in that old gym was incredible. You couldn’t hear yourself talk hardly because of the fans. The community involvement in that team added to our success as well. The fan base in Seymour back then was incredible.

Dan Deputy: When the game started, they’d turn the lights real low. All the lights over the audience, they’d turn them off. That was pretty wild. It was straight black out there. You couldn’t see the people that much, except for right at the front.

Mickey Beck: The people were right down on you. It was crowded and the atmosphere was great. The crowds were always big. One of the things I remember is on the north end, every policeman, state trooper and fireman in the city of Seymour was lined up there. They stood the whole game underneath that basket. I don’t think it was a show of force, because you didn’t worry about anything like that then. They just wanted to come see the game.

Rick Mousa: We would watch the reserve team play before us. We were all dressed up in our coats and ties, and we’d be sitting up on the upper level, and then we would – about the third quarter of the reserve game – we’d get up and head to the locker room, and everybody would stand up and cheer and holler and everything as we walked down to the locker room. I knew exactly where my parents were sitting and where my Papaw sat, Uncle Charlie and all that. I’d always try to eyeball them as much as I could when we were out there warming up.

Bud Shippee: All through the Sixties, there was a huge season-ticket fan base because you basically had to have a season ticket to get a sectional ticket. There’d be a ticket draw. It was a hard ticket to come by at sectional time. If you didn’t have a season ticket, there was no way you were getting a tournament ticket.

Baron Hill: We had a great basketball team, we had a great basketball coach, but we also had a great fan base. The old gymnasium that we played in, it was packed every night, to the rafters all the way, every single night. I don’t think there was ever a game that was not sold out.

Since the mid-1990s, Shields Gym has been vacant. Passers-by now see broken windows rather than past glory.

Rick Mousa: I took my son there once, and we broke in. There was a door we could get in, and I took my son in there. I wanted to show him around. It was dilapidated and kind of sad the way it looked.

Mark Emkes: You never like to see a building in disrepair and unfortunately now I think it’s to the stage where it’s just beyond repair. I think you have to face reality on that one. We may be to the point of no return, which is sad.

Max Siefker: It’s too bad that they don’t keep that thing up. It’s going to just fall down one of these days, but that was when basketball was basketball here in Seymour.

Part IV: The Lead Up

Coming off a 15-8 season with four returning starters, Seymour garnered some preseason notice from outside of the program as one of the southern Indiana’s best teams. From inside the program, the expectations ranged from cautiously optimistic to through the roof.

Rick Mousa: The only one not coming back (from the previous season) was Stu (Silver). We talked about having a good team with everybody coming back and certainly with Coach Scott being our coach. But we never foresaw that we would win 25 games in a row. That really wasn’t what we talked about.

Dan Deputy: I replaced Stu Silver, but otherwise the team was intact. Going into the season, I think we thought we were going to be good, but it was still an unknown factor if we were going to be better than the year before, since really it was the same team.

Alice Scott Laskowski: Going into the season, and at the end of the season before, (Dad) thought they were going to be good. Things were kind of falling into place.

Mickey Beck: I think Barney felt he had the nucleus and kids that could play together to be really successful.

Max Siefker: Barney knew something was coming way back in grade school. I remember when I was at Immanuel, me, Emkes, Schroer and Weber. After the basketball season got over, Barney had Baron and Mousa come in and we had some scrimmage games at Immanuel. We had about 12 guys there and we just played. Basically, Barney tried different people at different positions in different combinations. I’ll never forget that.

Bud Shippee: Three of those kids that were seniors, Mousa, Schroer, and Weber, had been starting since they were sophomores. And then you add in Baron Hill, who was such a great athlete. Everybody had known as they were coming up through the grades that these kids had a chance to really be good. A lot of (outside) people did, too. Hoosier Basketball Magazine had us as a regional favorite. And I think everybody thought we were going to be really good.

Baron Hill: Barney brought us all in to a room there at the old gymnasium and said, “You guys can go a long way this season if you play unselfishly and don’t let any one person grab the headlines and think that they’re the star of the team. If you can be teammates that are going to share the glory and be a team and not individuals, this team can go a long way.” I never have forgotten that. It was something that I attributed to the success of that basketball team.

Mark Emkes: Expectations were extremely high because there aren’t a lot of high school teams that had three big men like we did with Mousa, Weber and Growe. You couldn’t help but be excited. That team had swagger. There’s no question about that. I was happy that Coach Scott had enough confidence to put me in once in a while off the bench.

Stan Schroer: Huge expectations. We thought we’d be really good. We had five guys on that team that could score 20 points a game. Barney watched us play quite a bit when we were in grade school. He knew what he had coming.

To take advantage of his talented team, Scott implemented an up-tempo offense that used a 1-4 formation in half-court situations, with Hill at point guard on top and the remaining four lined up along the extended foul line. Mousa and Growe or Weber set up on the “elbows” on either end of the foul line. Schroer and Deputy or Weber lined up as wings. Out of that formation, the idea was to get shots up quickly. And score, score, score.

Without a 3-point line (which wasn’t adopted until 1987), the Owls averaged 85.2 points. They reached 100 points three times, including a school-record 117 against Madison. They topped 90 points an eye-popping 12 times. Hill scored at least 20 points 11 times that season, followed by Mousa (10 times), Weber (nine times), Schroer (twice) and Growe (once). Hill (three times) and Weber (twice) topped 30 points in a game multiple times.

Dan Deputy: Barney had that weird 1-4 offense. He pretty much invented it. We ran that probably 80 percent of the year. Baron brought it down and then would either pass to me or Stan, and then depending on if Larry or Rick was on the side, they would roll down and the other one would come across. That was about it. Of course, there wasn’t a whole lot of passing. It was big-time run-and-gun. And press, everybody was pressing, so everything was off the press. Everybody did that back then. Scottsburg was great at it.

Bud Shippee: Because Baron was such a good ball handler and was so quick, Barney instituted a 1-4 offense. He was the fastest kid in every game we played. Everything was fast. That was before the three-point line, so there wasn’t an emphasis on having long-range shooters. From 15 feet in, all those kids could score.

Stan Schroer: Playing a run-and-gun game like we did, it was sort of hard to justify playing defense. You don’t have time to play defense, or you’re going up and down the floor, and you don’t set it up.

Bud Shippee: I would never say in front of Coach Scott back then that he didn’t emphasize defense, but it was a different game. It was pre-Coach Bob Knight coming to IU. (Knight) changed the whole way coaches in Indiana looked at playing defense. Back then it was Branch McCracken, Hurryin’ Hoosiers, everybody get up and down the court.

Rick Mousa: It was, get the ball, head to the other end and pretty much whoever got the ball was taking the shot. It was just run-and-gun. We scored 117 points against Madison in 32 minutes. That’s putting it up in a 32-minute game. Now I look at some of the scores and they’re scoring maybe 40 or 50 points with the 3-point shot.

Max Siefker: Barney was a run-and-gun type of coach. Our first pass, if it we got a rebound or even if the ball went through the bucket, our first pass was to the 10-second line. That’s where you looked for the outlet pass. Most of our points came off of fast breaks. We didn’t slow down like they do now and go through a motion offense and all that.

Mickey Beck: We’d get a rebound, make a half-court pass. Nobody had to worry about getting set up. They just knew they were going to get to where they’re supposed to be and, boom, put up a shot. The idea was to keep moving.

Part V: The Season

The Owls opened the 1969-70 season on the road with easy victories over Mitchell (75-56) and Bloomington (90-65). Mousa highlighted the Bloomington win with a 24-point, 24-rebound performance.

The 2-0 start set up a highly anticipated home opener with Southport. The Cardinals were considered one of the state’s powers and came to town sporting a No. 1 ranking in the Litkenhous Ratings, roughly the equivalent of today’s Sagarin Ratings. Seymour had a No. 14 Litkenhous ranking. The season’s first state-wide Associated Press poll had not yet come out, so all eyes were on the two teams’ “LitRatings.”

After a slow start, Seymour roared back in the second half. Mousa poured in 28 points and Hill added 24 to lead the Owls to an 83-76 win. After the final buzzer, Seymour students stormed the court and chanted “We’re No. 1!”

Bud Shippee: Southport was ranked No. 1, so we were all fired up. Southport was really good. We were behind by 10 points at halftime. And then we came out in the third quarter, and by the end of the third quarter, we were in the lead, and we pulled away and beat them by seven. That was the first real indication that, yeah, we were going to be really good.

Mark Emkes: I remember after the game, for some reason, I got to the locker room before Mousa got there. When he came in, he was so excited. You could see in his eyes. He knew if we beat Southport, we had a great future ahead of us that season.

Rick Mousa: The Southport game was a barn burner. We were down at halftime, then came back and beat them pretty handily. All of a sudden, the next week we were ranked No. 2.

Baron Hill: When you go through a game like that, it builds your confidence. Here was this great Southport team. They had us down at halftime, but we didn’t go away. We came roaring back in that second half and took it away from them. And that was a confidence-building game for us. Jeffersonville was always a challenge, and so was Connorsville. But that Southport game did it for me. I knew we could be a great basketball team after that game.

The Southport win also drew the attention of the state’s main newspaper. The Indianapolis Star’s Bob Williams, who covered Indiana high school sports for 40 years and was later inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, travelled to Seymour to cover the Owls-Cardinals game. A week later, Williams featured Seymour in his “Shootin’ the Stars” column (December 11, “Owls to Roost in Hinks Barn?”) in which he declared “most experts predict” the Owls will “be knocking on the State Finals door harder than ever next March.”

One night after defeating Southport, the Owls followed up with a comfortable 75-62 win over Evansville Reitz, a team that had beaten Seymour by 19 the year before. Schroer paced the Owls with a game-high 23 points.

Dan Deputy: Reitz beat the hell out of us the year before so beating them was kind of surprising. But I think Southport more than anything was like, oh, man, we might be good.

Following the Southport-Reitz weekend, the first AP poll was released with Seymour ranked No. 2 behind East Chicago Roosevelt. Besides a one-week slip to the No. 4 spot for Seymour, the Owls and Rough Riders held the top two positions the entire season. Seymour occasionally lurched towards Roosevelt in ratings points but never knocked the northern school from its perch.

The Owls’ momentum continued with a 24-point win over Brownstown and a narrow three-point victory over Jeffersonville, who was led by 1971 Mr. Basketball winner Mike Flynn. Then came a key trip to Connorsville.

Bud Shippee: We played at Connersville. We were unbeaten. They were unbeaten. Both teams were ranked. They had a young sophomore, Phil Cox, who ended up being Mr. Basketball in 1972. At the end of the first quarter, we were ahead 21-18. The second quarter was probably the best quarter we played the whole season. We hit 10 straight shots and outscored them 35-11. We were up 56-29 at halftime. We ended up becoming the first visiting team to ever score 100 points at the Spartan Bowl. We beat them 100-76. We played 26 games that year and if this wasn’t the best game we played the entire season, it was close.

The win further solidified Seymour’s reputation around the state. The one-week stay at No. 4 in the AP poll was quickly corrected and the Owls re-took the No. 2 slot.

Boasting wins over a ranked Southport team and touted programs like Jeffersonville and Connorsville, the Owls were off and running. They surpassed 90 points in each of their next five games, all double-digit wins, while improving to 12-0 and tying the school record for best start to a season (set originally by the 1926-27 team).

In their ninth win of the season, a 98-70 victory over Corydon in the first round of the Seymour Holiday Tournament, the Owls scored a whopping 67 points in the first half, netting 32 points in the first quarter and 35 in the second. Seymour won its holiday tourney the next day over Madison thanks to Weber’s 31 points, one of his two 30-point games that season.

The 12th win came against Rushville and featured a 39-point effort by Hill, the Owls’ top single-game scoring mark of the season. With subsequent wins over Martinsville, Bedford, New Albany and Columbus, by an average margin of 19.5-points, the team’s win streak extended to 16, breaking the program’s all-time consecutive-wins record (set by the 1938-39 club).

Then Madison came to town in early February.

Bud Shippee: That night, everything just fell into place. We scored 62 in the first half, broke the school scoring record and beat them 117-93. They actually had a kid named Bob Wilson who scored 45 points, and we still beat them by 24. We had 89 at the end of the third quarter. The points were just flying.

With its ranking, record and prolific scoring, the Owls were officially a big deal.

Alice Scott Laskowski: We had one house phone, and that year it rang off the hook. It was newspapers, TV, friends from Jeffersonville (the Scotts’ hometown), college coaches. Everybody wanted tickets to everything. I remember thinking dad didn’t get a break from it, even though he didn’t regret any of it.

Rick Mousa: It gave you a macho feeling when you went to the away gyms, walking in and being ranked No. 2 in the state of Indiana, which is a huge basketball state. You were proud of it. There was certainly a mark on your back. Every time we came in, we were the team to beat. It was exciting. Every Friday and Saturday, if we had an away game, the cars were on the road, the headlights were headed to the gym.

Bud Shippee: We cared about (the winning streak) because we didn’t want to lose that No. 2 ranking. I remember our student section chanting at the end of every game, “We’re No. 1!” That was kind of cool.

Mickey Beck: It was exciting. Every week, you’d look at the rankings to see if you’re still up there, because even if you won, somebody else could maybe play a little bit better.

Alice Scott Laskowski: Dad was really calm and cool. He never really showed a tremendous amount of emotion. I think he was trying to keep the players calm and cool. He was excited, but he was very even keeled as the pressure was building. My mom got to the point where she’d say, “I don’t think I can eat.” But she was also trying to keep it level because dad was under a lot of pressure. The attention that Seymour was getting and the attention these young men were getting, it was a big deal.

Mark Emkes: When you’re so young and naïve, you don’t feel a burden. You just kind of feel the excitement. There was definitely a buzz. There was definitely excitement. We had a lot of confidence in ourselves and, again, we had great coaching to keep us humble and focused. As a result, I think that had a lot to do with the outcomes of the games.

Stan Schroer: We were just having fun. We went out every game and expected to win. And we did. It wasn’t easy. We had a few close games, but that’s the magic when you go undefeated. You’re going to have a couple close games here and there.

Rick Mousa: When you get to 14 in a row and 15 in a row, all of a sudden you think, man, we can do this. We can go undefeated during the regular season. There was more pressure toward the end, but we all had a lot of confidence. We just went out there and we expected to win. When you’ve won that many games, you don’t expect to lose. And, man, we just kept winning.

The regular season’s last major test was the Owls’ trip to Scottsburg the day after the Madison blowout. A recent addition to the Seymour Sectional and a fixture on Seymour’s regular-season schedule, Scottsburg was a major rival. And a tough foe. The Warriors had defeated the Owls four straight times over the previous two seasons, including the last two sectional championship games. The bitterest pill for the Owls to swallow was losing the two teams’ epic 110-104 overtime battle the previous regular season.

Dan Deputy: Scottsburg had beaten us quite a few times. They still had a good team and we had to play them down there. That was a circle-the-calendar game. It was definitely on our radar.

The Owls led by 10 at halftime, by nine with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter and, after a Mousa jumper, by six with 33 seconds to go. They ultimately escaped with a 61-59 win.

A week later, Seymour endured another nail-biter to beat Shelbyville, 90-87, and claim the South Central Conference title for the first time since 1956. The Owls then completed their first undefeated season by easily topping Greensburg, 84-71.

Mickey Beck: It was a great year for Seymour. At the end of the regular season, Barney was 20-0, (reserve coach Dick) Stickles was 17-2, and my freshman Purple team was 18-0. We would give Stickles a hard time, because his team lost two games.

Part VI: The Sectional

Sitting on a 20-0 record, the top ranking among southern Indiana schools and a season’s worth of momentum, Seymour entered its sectional as the clear favorite.

Thanks to consolidation, the Owls no longer presided over the old “county tournament” Seymour Sectional. Gone were Clearspring, Cortland, Freetown, Hayden, Tampico and Vallonia. Instead, the sectional’s seven-team field was a more competitive mix of small, medium and large schools consisting of Austin, Brownstown, Crothersville, Jennings County, Medora, Scottsburg and the Owls.

After a run of 12 straight sectional titles between 1954 and 1965, Seymour had claimed just the 1967 crown since. North Vernon, soon to be Jennings County, took the 1966 title, beating the Owls by six points.

Scottsburg, meanwhile, entered the 1970 Seymour Sectional as the two-time defending champion, having taken both the ’68 and ’69 titles with convincing double-digit wins over the Owls. Scottsburg was just the second non-Seymour team to this point to win consecutive Seymour Sectionals (Brownstown was the first in 1944 and 1945).

Thanks to a favorable draw, the Owls received a bye into the semifinals, but their first opponent was, you guessed it, Scottsburg.

Bud Shippee: We had lost to Scottsburg in the championship game the previous two years. But from the students’ perspective, there was no doubt in our minds that we were going to win. We were already thinking state championship. Students and fans could afford to do that. No one would have ever dreamed that we’d win two games by one point.

Mark Emkes: We knew Scottsburg was going to be a challenge. They were a thorn in our side.

Dan Deputy: (Scottsburg) had had our mark for years. Frankly, they weren’t as good as they were the year before, but Scottsburg was always going to be hard for us to beat no matter what their talent was. They had a good coach. They were always in real good shape and they pressed like you wouldn’t believe. Just phenomenal.

Rick Mousa: Our junior year they had Bill James who had 48 on us when they scored 110 points. Of course, they’re from right down the road. Their coach was Coach Barley. He was kind of a wild man on the sidelines. It was a big rivalry.

Seymour took a first-half lead on Scottsburg in the semifinal and led by 15 early in fourth quarter, but had to withstand a furious Warrior comeback. Mousa and Growe had huge games, scoring 26 points each. But the Owls needed last-minute free throws by Emkes and Hill to escape, 80-79.

Rick Mousa: I’m sure there were a lot of heart attacks in the stands during that game, including us.

Bud Shippee: I thought we actually dominated that game quite a bit. We were up by 11 at halftime and by 13 at the end of the third quarter. The pressure rose as they got closer and closer. I can remember they had a guard named Rick Stultz, a small guy, real quick. He and Baron had quite a battle. When Scottsburg would score, Stultz would grab the ball and hold it so they could set the press up and then he would hand it to Baron. Baron finally turned and said something to the official about it and the official gave Baron a technical.

Having slipped into the final, the Owls looked to put away a Jennings County team they had defeated by 26 points in December. But Panther freshmen Danny Brown and Billy Harman were no longer playing like freshman. Mixed with senior Brent Sporleder, Jennings proved to be a more formidable opponent than expected.

Dan Deputy: Looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure (Brown and Harmon) didn’t even play that first game, so that was a completely different team than what we saw in the sectional and that kind of surprised us.

Stan Schroer: Jennings County had an up-and-coming team. They had Brown and Harmon. Brent Sporleder was their leader. He was a little guard (5-8, 160 pounds) who averaged about 20-something points a game. I remember one game I guarded him, and I was like this far from blocking every one of his shots and he made about 70 percent of them. It was frustrating.

Similar to the Scottsburg game, the Owls appeared to take control with a nine-point third-quarter lead, but they couldn’t shake the Panthers.

Bud Shippee: That game was close all the way. It was surprising. I think we kind of relaxed after beating Scottsburg. At halftime, we were behind 44-42 and Jennings County was throwing them in from everywhere.

As pressure mounts, it falls solidly on undefeated, highly ranked Seymour. Jennings is playing free and loose.

Baron Hill: Larry Weber’s nickname was “Chicken Man” because he was skinny and his legs were really skinny. They looked like chicken legs. He came down the floor during that game and he was almost screaming, “We’re going to get beat!” And I remember grabbing him and saying, “Chick, we’re not going to lose this basketball game! Get your act together!” To his credit, he responded. He came through.

Weber led Seymour with 23 points. Hill scored 21, followed by Schroer’s 19 and Mousa’s 13. But the Owls still needed late foul-line heroics to escape.

With five seconds on the clock, Deputy, who had missed his previous three free throws and was a 40-percent foul shooter that season, made two in a row to give Seymour a three-point cushion. The Owls allowed Sporleder to score a meaningly layup as time expired and claimed the sectional title with an 84-83 win.

Dan Deputy: The feeling was relief more than anything.

Max Siefker: In that sectional, nothing was a given. We struggled to survive.

Stan Schroer: We didn’t think we’d have two one-point games in the sectional. It would have been disappointing if we didn’t win the sectional.

Rick Mousa: We just barely got out of there. Scottsburg and Jennings County played great games. And I’m not going to say we were lucky, but we were fortunate to move on. After going 20-0, had we not won the sectional, we’d have probably all left town for a while.

Part VII: The Regional

After the tension-filled close calls of the sectional, the Owls approached the Bloomington Regional cautiously. Despite a 22-0 record, a No. 2 ranking in the state polls and a No. 1 Litkenhous rating, Seymour was faced with the reality that four of its previous five wins came by three or fewer points.

Seymour was paired with Brazil (15-7), winners of the Brazil Sectional, in the regional’s afternoon round. Terre Haute Wiley (20-3) and host Bloomington (18-5) were matched in the other semifinal game.

Located east of Terre Haute (and later consolidated into Northview High School), Brazil entered as the regional’s decided underdogs. Ironically, the Red Devils played in Seymour’s holiday tournament earlier in the season, but lost their first-round game with Madison and therefore didn’t playing the Owls.

Expecting another long, difficult Saturday tournament, the Owls … instead pounded Brazil, 74-51, and then whipped Bloomington 90-62 in the championship after shooting a season-best 64 percent from the floor.

Bud Shippee: Quite frankly, we got a good draw in the regional. We got the surprise team in Brazil. We had an easy time with them, really. They were 15-7 coming in and were a young team.

Stan Schroer: The sectional was tough. The regional was a breeze. I had a pulled muscle in the sectional, so I didn’t play full-time in the regional. I wasn’t 100 percent. But the regional was a lot of fun. I mean, it was no contest.

Max Siefker: In Bloomington, we played great. We kind of walked through the regional to get to the semistate.

Baron Hill: We cruised. We recaptured our confidence after the sectional. There’s no question that the results of the sectional and the closeness of those games is reflective in that we had some jitters. But we got through it. We realized, okay, we can do this. And we did it in the regional.

Rick Mousa: After those two sectional games, we realized we had to pick it up a little bit. And we just went over there and had fun. We just kind of breezed through. It was a relief to get out of there and not have two close games like the sectional.

Bud Shippee: We played Bloomington in the championship game. They were 19-5 and their football players had developed back into their basketball skills. I heard that in the pregame locker room Coach Scott just wrote one thing up on the chalkboard, “56-0.” That’s how bad Bloomington had beaten us in football that year. We kind of took that out on them in the regional.

Dan Deputy: Chuck Marlowe on Channel 4 out of Bloomington was saying Bloomington is going to beat Seymour in the regional because Seymour is not doing well lately. They’re tapped out, they’re not on the rise, they just barely got out of their sectional, blah, blah, blah. When we killed Bloomington in the regional, he said, well, I was wrong on that one.

Rick Mousa: Big-time wrestling was a big deal in Indiana. (Marlowe) was the announcer for big-time wrestling and he was also doing the Bloomington game. He came into the locker room afterwards to interview us and we all acted like we were wrestlers. Doing the big-time wrestling thing, the deep voice, and just having a great time.

Their confidence restored, Seymour and its fans returned home for a celebration of the team’s regional title.

Alice Scott Laskowski: After we would win the regional, the fire trucks would meet us outside of town and would escort the team in. Then we’d have a bonfire at the elementary school at Emerson and celebrate. The whole town came out. That year was just a constant celebration.

Dan Deputy: In the old days, we had big-time bonfires in Emerson field. So much so that it kind of destroyed the field there. You didn’t want to play center field out there because the hornets were always coming up because all the charcoal was down in there.

Rick Mousa: They put signs up on the overpasses. We’d go to the big theater room and they’d have pep rallies, and basketball players would be sitting in the front row. The town was crazy because obviously we’d never been ranked that high. Everybody was just having a great time. It was just a very exciting time for everybody. Not just players, but the fans. Certainly, for our senior class, we were just over the top.

Part VIII: The Semistate

Flush with the success and dominance of their regional performances, the Owls and their fans believed the season-long dream of a trip to the state finals was truly within grasp.

Similar to their fortunate bracket placement in the regional, which yielded a matchup with a manageable Brazil squad, Seymour was paired with tiny Milltown in the Evansville Semistate’s first round. Milltown’s enrollment in 1969-70 was 97 students, compared to Seymour’s 1,019 (which at the time included only grades 10-12).

Bud Shippee: It was funny because we were the “big” school in Evansville. Not just enrollment-wise, but we were No. 2-ranked and unbeaten, and we were playing Milltown. All the publicity around the state was Seymour is playing the Milltown Millers.

Milltown, later consolidated into Crawford County High School, is located 30 miles west of Louisville. The Millers (21-4) had won the Paoli Sectional and the Huntingburg Regional. Both titles were firsts for the school. The town’s population was 800 at the time, but the school received and sold out 1,300 semistate tickets.

Not surprisingly, tickets were a hot commodity in Seymour, too. A drawing was held for season-ticket holders the Tuesday before the Saturday tournament was played. Seymour’s full allotment of 2,480 tickets was sold by Wednesday. Eventually, nearly 3,000 tickets were purchased by Owl fans.

Max Siefker: When we went to Evansville, I don’t think there was anybody left in Seymour. It was, “The last guy to leave, shut the lights off!” It was awesome.

The semistate tournament site was Evansville’s Roberts Stadium, a 12,500-seat arena (though a record 13,500 packed the stadium for a 1976 Elvis Presley concert). Home to the University of Evansville Purple Aces, the stadium opened in 1956, was closed in 2011 and was demolished in 2013.

Bud Shippee: It was unlike anything that we had played in. You walked in and you were at the top, then you’d walk down to your seats. Then you had to step up to get onto the court from the bench.

Dan Deputy: (Roberts Stadium) was big-time cool. It was definitely the biggest place we ever played. It had a raised floor. The floor was like six inches up off the ground. It was neat because it was completely packed.

The semistate’s other power, Evansville Memorial (23-2) was matched with little-known Loogootee (22-3) in the afternoon’s first game. Loogootee’s legendary head coach Jack Butcher, who won 806 games in 45 years at the school, coaxed his team to a 77-71 win in the school’s first-ever semistate appearance.

Bud Shippee: We played the second game. The first game had Evansville Memorial who was ranked sixth. During the week we were thinking we were going to have to beat Evansville Memorial in the championship game. They were playing Loogootee who, quite frankly, most of Seymour had never heard of. We were cheering for Loogootee. We were thinking we’ve got it made. We’re playing Loogootee to get to the Final Four.

Baron Hill: (Evansville Memorial) was the dominant basketball team there and I had it in my mind that they were going to be, like the Southport game, a test of how good we really were. When they ended up getting beat, I remember thinking, we’re going to the state championship.

Of course, Seymour first had to take care of Milltown. When the battle between the Owls and the “People’s Choice” Millers started, the expected run-away victory never materialized. Though consistently in the lead, Seymour could never quite put Milltown away during a 68-60 win.

Seymour’s offense struggled, shooting a tournament-low 40.8 percent from the field. Ultimately, the Owls relied on their front line, with Mousa scoring 20, Growe ending with 18 and Weber adding 17.

Baron Hill: We were a little bit too overconfident. I’d never heard of Milltown. They’re just a small little burg in southern Indiana. And we didn’t think we were going to have a problem with them. But when you get to the semistate, all basketball teams are good. And I think we were a little bit overconfident when it came to Milltown. We ended up beating them, but we should have beaten them by 30 points.

Despite the sluggish performance, the Owls were now 25-0 and right where they wanted to be: one win away from the state finals. Even better, it would come against another, apparently, manageable opponent.

Rick Mousa: East Chicago was ranked No. 1, we were ranked No. 2. That’s all anybody was talking about. Our goal was to get (to state) and beat East Chicago. We knew Loogootee had good players. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy march or that we were already in the Final Four. We knew better than that. And Coach Scott made sure we knew better than that.

Though he would later become well-known for his slow-it-down “Butcher Ball” strategy, Loogootee’s Butcher let his Lions run with Seymour in the ’70 Evansville Semistate championship game. The two teams combined to take 132 shots and each scored over 40 points in the second half.

Loogootee generally led throughout and then surged ahead by eight with six minutes remaining.

Baron Hill: We were in the huddle and Coach Scott said, “Anybody got any ideas?” And I said, “Coach, we’ve been pressing all year long. Let’s press these guys.” We started pressing them full court, and we went up on them.

Thanks to their press, the Owls clawed back to tie the game at 73, then moved ahead by one on a Mousa free throw. Buckets by Hill and Growe pushed Seymour in front, 78-75, with 1:57 remaining.

Then the Owls stopped scoring. Loogootee started its own comeback and, for the sixth time that season, Hill was called for his fifth foul and forced off the floor.

Mark Emkes: There was like a minute left or something and Baron fouled out. Barney’s down the bench and I’m trying to hide, you know. Dan Deputy and I looked at each other and gulped.

Dan Deputy: I hadn’t really played a lick. I think I might’ve been in a minute or two because Barney had gone with just a straight five. And I kind of looked at Mark and I go, man, I hope I don’t get in this game. Then like two seconds later, Baron fouls out. Mark went in at that point because he was more of a point guard than I was.

Mark Emkes: I hadn’t been in the game yet. I was going in cold turkey. Barney told me to go in and get the ball to the shooters. Once I was out there, I was fine. There was at least one time that I could have taken a shot and I didn’t. Later, several people said I should have taken that shot. Well, I got the ball to Mousa and to Weber. I felt their odds were a little bit better than mine.

Down 80-78 with 10 seconds to go, the Owls have the ball and are fighting for their season. Because he had made last-second game-winning shots against Southport and Bedford the previous season, Scott has Mousa in mind when he calls a final timeout.

Rick Mousa: It was a brawl all the way through. Baron fouled out. We were behind by two points, and Coach Scott called time out and said, ‘Get the ball to Mousa.’ I’d had a couple games my junior year where I’d made the last shot. Emkes came in for Baron, and got the ball to me near the free-throw line. I threw it up, it went off the backboard and rolled around the rim, but it didn’t go in. I crashed the boards, got the rebound, put it back up again, and I mean, it’s like a slow-motion movie.

Dan Deputy: Rick was in the middle of the key, which is his shot, the 10 to 15 footer. And he shot the first one and it came off hard. Rick got the rebound, shot it again, and then Larry got it. And we were still batting for the ball.

Stan Schroer: I was standing underneath the basket, trying to get a rebound, and the ball kept going back to the top of the key. It was a heartbreaker.

Baron Hill: Mousa shot one, Larry shot one, and neither one of them fell. I’m thinking, how many times have they taken those shots and they always went in? It was just one of those things. I don’t know why they didn’t drop, but they didn’t. All of our hearts were broken.

Rick Mousa: I have some crazy dreams, but I’ve never had a dream about that game, believe it or not. I still dream about basketball sometimes and being the best shooter in America, which was never the case. So I dream about something that I couldn’t do. But I’ve never had a dream about missing those last two shots.

Mark Emkes: We had many chances to tie it up there at the end. I mean, the ball was just rattling around all over the rim, but then it dropped out as the buzzer went off. We were so, so close. It was just a shock. Like, what’s going on here?

Alice Scott Laskowski: In your mind, you just knew we weren’t going to get beat. I’m almost 70 years old but I can still picture myself standing next to my mom up in the stands thinking, the ball’s going to go in. And when it didn’t, you would have thought somebody died. I mean, it just was dead silent. Dad was more quiet than I’d ever seen him. But, oh, mom, I mean, she cried and cried.

Stan Schroer: It sort of brings tears to your eyes. Three points. We just needed to score three more points.

Though Seymour usually took a team bus to away games, for the semistate weekend the team split up and drove in coaches’ cars to Evansville. The championship game started at 8:30 p.m. Evansville time, or 9:30 p.m. Seymour time. Stung by the loss, Scott chose to drive home after the game rather than spend the night in Evansville.

Dan Deputy: Barney drove us home. It was kind of weird. We got back to Seymour at two or three o’clock in the morning. My parents were staying in Evansville. I remember thinking, I hope my parents didn’t lock the door to our house.

Rick Mousa: The longest ride I ever made. If I recall, it was me and Weber and Baron and Stan in Barney’s car. The trip back was the longest trip I’ve ever made.

Max Siefker: I think it was me, Mark Emkes and Joe Hackman, we rode with Coach Stickles. It was a long drive. It was heartbreaking. If we won, I think we were going to stay (overnight in Evansville). But when we lost, Barney said we were getting out of there. We didn’t get back in town until, gosh, it was the wee hours of the morning.

Baron Hill: I can’t remember a word that was spoken the whole time. I don’t remember anything being said.

Dan Deputy: There were two up front, three in the back, and Barney driving. Baron was cramping up in the back of the car. We were tired because we had played two games. I don’t think we said a word the entire way. I lived over on Lee Boulevard, I ended up walking home at two o’clock in the morning.

Alice Scott Laskowski: We’d been around enough to know that anybody can get beat at any time. But there was something magical about this team and you just knew they were going to pull it out. That’s why I think Loogootee was such a shock. It’s like, wait a minute, wait, this isn’t the way it was supposed to end. I think in dad’s mind, he knew. He had his superintendent’s license and he had worked toward a doctorate. He really wanted to get into administration. I think he knew that he only had a few more years of coaching. He loved these kids and he just wanted it for them. After that year, mom said she would never go through the town of Loogootee again. Dad had coached for three years at Jasper and they had a lot of friends there, so they went to Jasper a lot. Twenty years later, she would find a route to go around Loogootee.

The 1970 state championship was held at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse a week later. Without the Owls, of course. In the semifinal round, Loogootee played Carmel valiantly, but succumbed to the Greyhounds, 71-62. No. 1 East Chicago Roosevelt completed its magical run, defeating Muncie Central, 90-75, in the afternoon and then topping Carmel, 76-62, in the final.

Roosevelt became just the fourth team in state history to complete a perfect boys basketball season. Nine teams have done it since, the last being the 2017-18 Warren Central team that won the Seymour Semistate over New Albany in a packed Lloyd Scott Gymnasium.

Part IX: The Legacy

Not surprisingly, the record-setting 1969-70 Owls enjoyed an accolade-filled off-season. Mousa earned first-team All State honors, with Hill garnering a second-team selection. Mousa, Weber, Hill and Schroer were named to the All-South Central Conference team. Mousa became Seymour’s first Indiana All Star (Hill followed a year later) and averaged 10 points while helping Indiana sweep both games against Kentucky’s All Stars.

Mousa departed to play for the University of South Carolina and its famed head coach, Frank McGuire. Schroer went to the University of New Orleans to play baseball, but walked on to the basketball team and played his freshman year. Weber played at Northwood Institute in French Lick, while Deputy played at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

The returners from the 1969-70 team, meanwhile, put together another excellent season the following year. Hill, Growe, Siefker and Emkes were the top four scorers for an Owl squad that opened Seymour’s new gymnasium by going 19-1 during the 1970-71 regular season. They won the Seymour Sectional and finished with a 23-2 record.

Mark Emkes: One thing that some people forget and Coach Scott reminded me of this at our 40-year reunion. During our junior and senior years, we were 48-3. People sometimes forget that next season. Just a great, great experience all the way around.

The 1970-71 Owls endured their own heart-breaking season-ending loss. In the championship game of the new Seymour Regional, in front of 9,000 fans packed into the new gym, Seymour allowed an 18-point fourth-quarter lead to slip through its fingers as Floyd Central caught fire and scored 41 points in the final period to claim the title.

Max Siefker: Floyd Central got hot, they just couldn’t miss. The new gym was packed to the rafters, even up in those corners that they don’t use anymore. The fans were screaming so loud, you could hardly hear yourself breathe. It was amazing playing that game.

Time has marched on and Seymour basketball has experienced heart-warming successes and devastating losses since. But the 1969-70 season remains unique for combining the program’s very highest achievements with its most intense feelings of missed opportunity. Thankfully, five decades later the achievements spring to mind more readily.

Dan Deputy: We all did well in life and I think it’s because we were well-rounded cadets, as we would say in the military.

Alice Scott Laskowski: It was a neat group of guys. My parents were so impressed with the academic quality of the players. Dad always said they were good kids. When you’ve got good students who can develop that kind of basketball talent, it was a formidable team that was hard to beat.

Bud Shippee: It was the kind of season that we dreamed of when we were little kids and we were watching players like John Judd and Larry Shade, and then Phil Schroer and Dick Gossett. They were going to semistates and that was our dream when we got to high school, whether you were actually one of the players or not. We felt like we were right there with the players. We had a close class. I think everybody felt like they were a big part of it.

Max Siefker: Everybody was in the gymnasium on Friday and Saturday night watching high school basketball. If you look at pictures back in the early 60s, the businessmen wore suits and ties to the game. That’s just what people did back then and they dressed up for it. That’s why I wanted to play. I wanted to be out there on that floor when I got to be in high school and play in front of all those people. Growing up, that was my dream. I didn’t care about anything else. Basketball was it. There was no other sport like that.

Baron Hill: I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life. I’ve had the honor of serving in the state legislature, and I’ve had the honor of serving in Congress, but there was nothing more special than when you’re 16 years old and you’re on an undefeated basketball team and you feel like you’re going to win a state championship and the entire town is going crazy about you. I remember that special feeling more than anything.

Stan Schroer: The only thing I regret is not giving Barney the state championship. I would have just loved to give Barney at least going to the state, maybe a state championship. And the people of Seymour. The people of Seymour were always behind us 100 percent.

John Regruth

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