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Washington Sectional 1980

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REVISITING THE 1980 WASHINGTON SECTIONAL
BY DICK LEMMON
FORMER ASSISTANT BASKETBALL COACH
BARR-REEVE HIGH SCHOOL
When the time came for the Washington boys basketball sectional in March of 1980
most fans assumed that the champion would be determined by who won the
opening round game between Washington and Loogootee. The Hatchets had won
the sectional the last four years and the regional the last two years. They had been
deprived of a trip to the state finals two successive years by Terre Haute South.
Washington owns three state championships, 1930,1941, and 1942, and Steve
Bouchie was named Mr Basketall in Indiana in 1979. The Loogootee Lions had been
winning games at an alarming pace for several years. They won six straight sectional
titles, 1970-1975, and were state finalists in 1970 and 1975. Washington, coached
by Stan Neal, entered the sectional with a 17-3 record. Loogootee, coached by Jack
Butcher, had a record of 19-1, ranked 12 th in Indiana, perfect record during the
regular season, losing only to Columbus East in a holiday tourney,
The sectional drawing was as follows: Game 1-Barr-Reeve v Shoals, Game 2-Pike
Central v Washington Catholic, Game 3-Washington v Loogootee, Game 4-North
Daviess drew the bye and would play the winner of Game 1.
Barr-Reeve(14-6), coached by Joe Todrank, was able to defeat Coach Norm
Beasley’s Shoals team(7-13) 65-56, even though Shoals shot 62% from the field.
Mike Graham’s column in the Washington Times-Herald stated: “Tuesday’s Night
game between Barr-Reeve and Shoals was one of the best played “first games of the
sectional” I have ever seen. Both teams were well-prepared for the game as
evidenced by the low number of turnovers. The Vikings turned it over only six times
while the Rox had nine”. This was Barr-Reeve’s first sectional win in 8 years. Chris
Craney was BR’s leading scorer with 34, Kent Burns led Shoals with 18.


Game 2 -Washington Catholic (5-15) coached by Dave Hayden, defeated Coach Jim
Mueller’s Pike Central team (3-17). WC came back in the late stages of the game for
a 54-39 victory. WC ended the game by scoring the last 21 points.


Game 3 was the one fans was looking forward to seeing. Loogootee(19-1) defeated
Washington(17-3) 54-39. Coach Butcher stated “the keys to victory were his teams
ability to play their man-to-man defense throughout the game and to run the delay
game when needed.” The 12 th -ranked Loogootee Lions played a near flawless game
to dethrone the four-time defending sectional champs. Ed Canary led the Lions with
14 points, Bob Butcher had 13. Terry Arnold led WHS with12 points, Kelly Cosby
had 11, and Craig McAtee had 10.

Game 4-Barr-Reeve defeated Coach Mike Hall’s North Daviess Cougars(4-16) 73-71
in double overtime. ND lead 55-50 with 5 minutes left in regulation. BR was able to
fight back when Chris Craney hit two shots and Bob Graber another, sandwiched
around a bucket by Steve Swartzentruber, to pull BR within 2, 58-56. Reserve Bret
Graber scored on a 3 point play with 2:52 to play to put BR in front 59-58. Neither
team scored until 6 seconds remained in the 4 th quarter, when Greg Wininger hit the
first of two free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime. In the first overtime
ND jumped to a 67-63 lead with 1:09 remaining. BR fought back when Craney hit a
long jumper, then stepped to the free throw line with :01 left to hit both shots to tie
the game at 67. In the second overtime , Bob Graber stole the ball and scored while
Craney hit 2 free throws with 1:17 left to seal the victory. Chris was the leading
scorer in the game with 30 points. Bob Graber finished with 14 points. ND was led
by Steve Meurer’s 20 points, Bill Horn had 18.
Game 5-WC defeated Loogootee 52-34. It is still considered the biggest upset in the
history of the Washington sectional. What was hard to explain how WC could turn
the ball over 12 times in the first half and still lead by 8 points at half-time. WC hit 9
of 10 shots the opening half, and didn’t miss a shot until the 2 minute mark of the
second period. The Loogootee Tribunes’ front page headline stated: “Cardinals Stun
Lions. What everyone said couldn’t happen did. The Loogootee Lions, winners of 20
games, were defeated by the Washington Catholic Cardinals last Friday night in the
semi-final game of the Washington sectional 52-34. It was as if the Cardinal squad
was possessed by a power far greater than the Lion team had ever seen. The
Cardinals hit an almost unheard of 82% from the field on 18 of 22 shooting, while
the Lions could manage to hit only 15 of 67 shots for 22%. The game was, without a
doubt, the greatest victory ever for Washington Catholic, and one of the biggest
upsets ever in the Washington sectional.”
The feeling by most fans through out this game was: Loogootee was going to do
what it always does, the Lions were going to come back and finally win the game.
This belief continued even with little time remaining in the 4 th quarter. But WC
claimed the victory.
WC’s Mark May, who Coach Hayden said, “was in the right place at the right time”,
led all scorers with 21 points, on 8 of 9 shooting from the field. Brayton Hayes was
next with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Reserve David Bledsoe finished with 8 points
and broke Loogootee’s full court press numerous times by himself. Bernie Butcher
led the Lions with 12 points. Wayne Souerdike scored 9. Ed Canary had 14
rebounds.
Early in the 3 rd quarter Todrank stated that we might be scouting the wrong team. If
the truth is to be known, no player, coach or fan was disappointed that BR was going
to face WC and not Loogootee in the championship game.

Game 5-Barr-Reeve was able to claim its first sectional title in school history with a
64-31 victory over Washington Catholic. BR got its lead early and controlled the

tempo of the game. BR hit 55% of its shots, while holding WC to 24% shooting. Chris
Craney again led BR with 23 points, while Bob Kramer led WC with 10. Barr-Reeve’s
starting players were Chris Craney, Joe Cummings, Jeff Harrawood, Bob Graber,
Lynn Stoll. Top reserves were Bret Graber and Steve Bullock.
With 30 seconds remaining is this championship game I was able to shake Coach
Todrank’s hand to congratulate him on an accomplishment he had worked long and
hard. It was a handshake I will never forget. Following the game the ritual of cutting
the nets occured, where each player, cheerleader, and coach received a piece of the
net to remember the championship win.
Bus rides to and from games can be tiring and long. However, the ride to the
championship game was filled with anticipation. We were surprised that fans had
already arrived at the Hatchet house before the team. The boys got to walk through
fans encouraging them to win the sectional on their way to the dressing room.
Elmer Brown, our bus driver for many years, was very excited that he finally had the
chance to be taking home a sectional winner. Police cars met the bus early to lead us
into Montgomery. As we turned off of Highway 50 heading toward the school, cars
were parked everywhere indicating very large crowd was waiting for the team’s
return. There was a feeling of pride and excitement coming from each player and
coach. The look on each of the boys’ face was priceless. It was a feeling that athletic
accomplishment provides.
BR fans had gathered at the gym for a chance for everyone to celebrate. Walking into
gym to a thunderous welcome is something no one associated the 1980 Barr-Reeve
Vikings can ever forget.

Mike Graham’s Bleacher Breezes column summarized the tourney: “The 1980
Washington Sectional will go down in the books among most exciting in the history
of the sectional. A lot of things happened over the last sectional that was not
supposed to. Everybody thought that it would come down to who won the
Loogootee-Washington contest on Wednesday night, and for that fact alone, it gives
all the competing teams new life in what had become a “predictable tourney”.
IT WAS A BIG BOOST for the little schools in the tourney, who over the years have
become warm-up teams for the two-biggies. The smaller schools won five out of six
games in the tourney, and the champion contest was between the two smallest
schools.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING happened along the way. In game one, Barr-Reeve
won by 9 points 65-56, despite Shoals hitting 67% of its shots. The second contest
saw Washington Catholic score 21 straight points in the 4 th quarter for a 64-53 win
over Pike Central. Loogootee then played as close to perfection as any team has in
recent years to eliminate 17-3 Washington, 54-39. It took two overtimes and a little
bit of luck for Barr-Reeve to dump North Daviess, 73-71. The shocker of the whole

tourney, and maybe in the history of the whole tourney, was WC’s unbelievable
triumph over Loogootee 52-34. And the final game, with the two smallest schools in
the sectional matched up, was a change from what had happened the past 11 years
ALL IN ALL. It was good for the Washington Sectional as a whole. Maybe the best
team didn’t win(don’t try to tell BR fans that), but who says the best team has to win
anyway. It featured exciting basketball nearly the entire way, which says something
for all seven teams and coaches involved.
YOU CAN SAY ONE THING about the 1980 edition of the Washington Sectional. What
was supposed to happen sure as heck didn’t.
If someone would have told Joe Todrank that his team would win the Washington
sectional going away last November , he would have told you “you’re nuts. ”Barr-
Reeve’s climb to the top was great for the school and the community of
Montgomery. The Vikings started the season with just one solid starter, but by
season’s end they were as tough as any other squad around. It says a lot for the
dedication that the players gave over the months and the job that Todrank and his
staff did. I for one am behind the Vikings now and wish the best of luck next week.”
Washington Times-Herald All Sectional Team
F-Mark May-Washington Catholic
F-Terry Arnold-Washington
F-Mickey Howes-Pike Central
F-David Meurer-North Daviess
C-Chris Craney-Barr-Reeve
C-Brayton Hayes-Washington Catholic
G-Bob Kramer-Washington Catholic
G-Bob Graber-Barr-Reeve
G-Kent Burns-Shoals
G-Bernie Butcher-Loogootee “
The Washington Times-Herald front page on Monday had its headline: “Barr-Reeve
Celebrates First Sectional Title” with Chris Craney’s picture of holding the sectional
trophy high above his head.
Barr-Reeve’s opponent in the regional round was 22-1 Crawford County. BR fell in
this game 54-44 bringing an end to a very successful season.
Montgomery and Alfordsville consolidated in 1965-66 to form Barr-Reeve.
Montgomery High School had won 2 sectionals back in1935 when the Vikings went
to the State Finals and again in 1952 when they were upset by Jasper in the
Vincennes regional. Alfordsville had never won a sectional. From 1966 to 1979 no
Barr-Reeve team was able to win a sectional.

I believe that the 1980 sectional championship provided the Roger Banister effect
for Barr-Reeve’s future teams. The Roger Bannister effect occurs when someone
breaks through what was previously thought to be impossible, and others are
inspired by their success and follow through into the new possibility.
Barr-Reeve was able to win Class 1A state championships in 2015 and 2021. Since
the 1980 championship BR has earned 16 sectional championships, 8 regional and
semi-state championships.

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