Piqua hoop team shares 1956 MVL title


Duane Bachman


THE HISTORY OF PIQUA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS – A JOURNAL

WINTER 1956

“Central High school won its first basketball season opener in 10 seasons here Friday night as the Indians unleashed a whirling, driving offense to defeat Celina 54-41. The score might easily have been higher by 20 points or more had the Indians been able to hit the countless shots they earned for themselves in the first half. The Tribe controlled both boards and the ball, but made less than one-fourth of its shots.”

“Central High school’s free-wheeling basketball team made it two straight over the week-end, following up with the win over Celina with a 63-41 rout of Northeastern in Clark County Saturday night. Jerry Hart and George McKinney led the Indians to their easy victory Saturday night, helped along in the scoring column by Steve Deardon.”

“The ‘let-up’ that every good basketball team has to get out of its system sooner or later wasn’t long in coming to Central High school’s Indians. It happened Friday night at Bellefontaine as the Indians scalping party that descended upon the Chieftains of that long-handled city came home with their own forelocks shorn.

“Piqua’s 61-59 loss was unexpected, coming as it did on the heels of a two-game winning streak, but it was a mighty frustrating night for the Indians all around.”

“Central High school’s Indians achieved another of the half-dozen or more basketball goals they’ve set for themselves this season Saturday night. The win at Urbana, is Central’s fourth game of the season, and equaled Piqua’s entire victory total last season when the Indians won only three of 16 games.”

“Roosevelt’s Teddies, rumored to be unbeatable on their own floor, were just that in Dayton Friday night as they outran Piqua 83-55 to hand the Indians their second defeat of the basketball season.

“The Teddies, helped by their home floor advantage (the game was moved to Dayton from Piqua this week because of work on the Indian’s floor) raced to a 26-16 lead in the first quarter, upped their margin to 17 points at the half and led by 19, 65-46 at the three-quarter mark.”

“Late spurting West Milton forced Piqua to work overtime Thursday night before the Indians emerged from a thrilling basketball game with their finest victory of the season, 75-73. Things settled down to a ‘quiet’ roar as the three-minute overtime began, but cheers turned to groans as West Milton missed two straight shots from the floor and the Indians went ahead on a goal by Jack Prater and Jerry Hart’s foul shot.

“Tempers flared in a tangle under the bucket and Piqua’s Steve Deardon was thumbed from the game with 14 seconds remaining in the extra period. Dee Frantz of Milton sunk both a foul shot and technical awarded him to narrow the gap 74-73, but Marv Curtis connected on his half of the double foul as the Tribe held on and ran out the clock.”

“In the second game of the Tuesday evening play of the Holiday Tournament Piqua, coached by Dale Beckett, and Greenville had each scored 13 points to end the first quarter 13-13. At the half, the score was 26-22, as Piqua had picked up a four point lead. There was very little scoring by either team, concluding it 28-23.

“In the last minute of play, Piqua scored the winning points and emerged victorious 40-39. Jerry Hart led the scorers of the Piqua Indians with 14 points.”

“During the first quarter of the championship game on Thursday evening, Piqua came within three points of Sidney, as the first period ended 14-11. At the end of the half Sidney went ahead with a 12 point lead 31-19. However, at the end of the third quarter, Sidney enjoyed its greatest lead of the game with 23 points, as the quarter ended 62-29. In the final quarter Piqua narrowed Sidney’s margin somewhat, concluding with a 64-46 score. Jerry Hart set the pace for the Indians in this game by scoring 11 points.”

“Central High school’s Indians initiated their new basketball floor with an impressive 62-51 win over Fairborn in the opening game of the 1956 Miami Valley League season Friday night. Adding to the crowd appeal of another league opener was the unveiling of the new fieldhouse floor, which has been lengthened, refinished and colorfully re-decorated since Piqua last home game, December 2.”

“Central High school’s Indians led once beaten Chaminade by three points with just seconds to go in Dayton Saturday night, but bowed to the Eagles 56-53 in the final seconds of play. Tom Ferguson, starting his second game for Piqua, took scoring honors with 18 points.”

“Central High school’s Indians ‘hitch-hiked’ to Greenville Friday night and rode the foul line to a 60-56 victory in a basketball game that could have been played on Friday the thirteenth. Trouble dawned early as the Indians had their chartered bus ‘shot out’ from underneath them halfway to Greenville.

“The ‘blunder bus’ with a past history of balkiness, started smoking in Covington , coughed the last five miles further up Route 36. Abandoning ship while Coach Dale Beckett braved chicken pox in a quarantined farm house to report the fatality, the Indians ‘thumbed’ rides into Greenville with passing motorists. Then followed a basketball game.”

“Roosevelt Fieldhouse was one big laundry wringer Friday night as Central High’s Indians put fans through the rigors of an overtime period before edging Xenia 66-62 for their third straight Miami Valley league win. The Indians, in another of their patented ‘back from the brink of disaster’ finishes, won it by the simple expedient of outscoring Xenia 6-2 from the foul line in the three-minute overtime.”

“Central High school’s Indians hung out the ‘help wanted’ sign today after bidding goodbye to two teammates in Saturday’s 60-43 win over Covington at the fieldhouse. Gone are Bruce Culpepper, the Indians ‘good little man’ at forward and Marv Curtis who has seen lots of action at center this season. Although Culpepper and Curtis are Central’s last mid-year (eight semester) basketball casualties, solutions to the annual January problem didn’t come soon enough to help Coach Dale Beckett’s Miami Valley League co-leaders.

“The Indians, with three members of the second team starting, made Covington their sixth victim of the season. Tom Ferguson led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Baker with 10 and Robinson who scored 8.”

“Sidney’s basketball beehive lost all its sting here Friday night as Piqua parlayed ball control and smooth work under the boards into its fourth straight Miami Valley League win 51-41. The largest crowd of the season, approaching 1,500 persons, saw the Indians play their finest game—-one in which they led from start to finish.”

“Piqua’s hopes for an undisputed Miami Valley League championship suffered a rude jolt Friday night as Troy upset the Indians 54-45 before a noisy Hobart Arena crowd of 2,500. The defeat dropped Piqua out of a first place tie with undefeated Miamisburg and snapped a four-game win streak, but the Indians could take comfort in the fact that they were beaten by the best team they’ve played this season.”

“Ray Baker, starting only his sixth Piqua game, scored 19 points and was a demon under the boards. Central High school’s Indians put on one of the most dazzling displays of basketball ever seen on the fieldhouse floor Friday night to upset undefeated Miamisburg 57-42 and tie the Vikings for the Miami Valley League lead.

“A sellout crowd overflowing into the street before the doors were closed after halftime, worked itself into a frenzy as the Indians poured it on. There must have been 2,000 persons seated, standing and clamoring outside ‘Dizzyland’ last night. Jerry Hart, George McKinney, Tom Ferguson and Ray Baker ‘sounded off’ in the scorebook like the song books ‘Ten Little Indians’. Hart scored 14, McKinney 13, Ferguson 12 and Baker 11. The fifth injun, Jack Prater, played a bang-up game while scoring seven points.”

“Central High school’s Indians, who’ve played a ‘big’ game every Friday night for the last six weeks, won the biggest one of them all last night at Fairmont. There before a capacity crowd on the final night of the league season Coach Dale Beckett’s magnificent Indians floored a swarming, Fairmont team 62-52 to tie Miamisburg for the 1956 Miami Valley League title.

“Beckett’s youngsters, who eat pressure like milk on their corn flakes every morning, were subject to plenty of it by the pressing, mauling Dragons. But they led from start to finish, outshot and rebounded Fairmont and won their twelfth and most important game of the season.”

“The St. Marys wrecking firm of Graves and Kuenzel, a collective 12 feet 6 inches of basketball trouble put on a devastating two-man show Tuesday as Piqua bowed to an undefeated Roughrider team 65-52 on the last night of the regular season. It was Parents’ Night at the fieldhouse, where Coach Beckett’s Miami Valley League co-champs had won six straight games, but even Mom and Dad and a capacity house couldn’t help the Indians over their roughest hurdle of the season.”

“Reserves played most of the fourth quarter as Central High school’s Indians breezed into the second round of the Troy District Class A basketball tournament with a 66-43 victory over Northridge Monday night at Hobart Arena. The Indians, who hit better than 45 per cent of their shots from the floor in the first half, were never extended and played a relaxed ball-control type of game most of the way.”

“Central High school’s Indians have had better nights than the one they experienced while easing Versailles out of the Troy District Class A tournament 54-36 Wednesday. But ragged as the Indians looked at intervals of the second game in the Hobart Arena regional qualifier, they picked the right evening to have that ‘off night’.

“Versailles tried hard, but lacked the punch to capitalize on Piqua’s turnovers. While the Tribe was never really in trouble, they hardly looked like Miami Valley League champs and the tournament’s fourth-seeded team. For Piqua, Prater weighed in with 12 points, while Hart, Ferguson, McKinney and Baker all contributed 10 and Stockman added two.”

“Heartbreak Highway” came to an abrupt end for Central High school’s Indians Friday night. It ended finally and irrevocably, although somewhat unconvincingly, as West Milton dashed Piqua’s dreams of district Class A championship glory with a surprising 48-45 victory in the quarter finals at Troy.

“Players sat in wet-eyed silence in the dressing room as Milton rooters’ cheers echoed down the halls, but Coach Dale Beckett spoke for all Piqua fans when he broke the uneasy calm: We’ve done a good job this year. It hurts to lose and I know some of you won’t be with us, but let’s do an even better job next year. And the clap on the shoulder he gave each Indian as the losers prepared to travel the year’s longest seven miles was the pat on the back Piquads have wanted to give their basketball team all season.”

Duane Bachman
http://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/03/web1_bachmanmug-2.jpgDuane Bachman