Converse Posts S.R.O. Sign, Wins Again
Miami County Hamlet’s Five Keeps Rolling Along for Sixteenth Straight Victory
Center- Dick Presser
Front- Robert Haynes, Carl Bowman, Ralph Cunningham, Oscar Burke, Dave Bargerhuff
Back-Lewis Turner, Merrill Renbarger, Art Caldwell, Royce Grubb, Bob Macy, Coach Dan Ballard
CONVERSE, Ind., Feb. 3 (1944) (UP) This basketball-conscious community of 900, supporting one of the few undefeated teams in the state, went through its most exciting game in years Wednesday night as Converse won over Greentown, 29 to 22.
Hailed as a “game to see” for weeks, the contest packed the gym with 1,000 fans and another 1,000 were turned away. More than two hours before the game was scheduled to start, officials closed the doors on a crowd of fans lined up four deep and a block and a half long.
Additional bleachers had been placed in the gym, and the packed house caused heavy condensation on rafter girders. The water dripped on to the playing floor and play was stopped occasionally to allow officials to mop the hardwood.
Greentown, winner of the Howard county tournament last week, had won all but two of its regularly scheduled games for the last three and one-half years. Converse stretched its victory string to sixteen.
The above United Press lead from February 1944, which appeared statewide in Indiana newspapers, captures the spirit of Indiana basketball. The packed steamy Converse Gym holding more fans than the population of Converse, even had its doors closed to another 1,000 two hours before game time. It doesn’t get any better than that and this was ten years before the Miracle of Milan!
Looking back at World War II era high school basketball in Converse, IN, 1941-1944, would lead one to conclude there is enough story material for another Hoosiers. The Bordermen team of 1943-1944 from all accounts had speed, great ball handling skills, and used a tight zone defense. Most of their games were lopsided victories of 20-30 pts. They could boast the title of Tri-County champs having defeated the respective winners of Howard and Grant County besides winning the Miami County championship.
After getting by Logansport in the regional tournament, there were some who gave Converse a chance of making it to the state finals, but next stop was Hammond semi-state. A tough Culver team that also had an unbeaten record, ended the Bordermen’s run of twenty-seven straight wins, 26-17, The Bordermen became part of an elite group though undefeated in the regular season, failed to win the coveted state championship. (Crispus Attucks became the first in 1956 with Oscar Robertson to win the state and go undefeated.)
Team photo and newspaper accounts courtesy of the Warnock family collection. Researched by Greg Warnock
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