Editor's Note: This article was penned by Mark Titus, a staff writer for the online sports publishing organization "The Ringer." It's quite nostalgic, reflecting the same general sentiments that many of our senior IHSBHS members still express.
It was a few months before my 10th birthday in 1997 when my dad and I went to the Indiana high school state basketball finals at the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis. I was too young to know much of anything at the time, but this I knew for certain: I loved basketball. I mean, I looooooved it, to the point that I judged my third-grade classmates based solely on their basketball ability. It consumed my every thought.
I guess I never really had a choice. My dad went to high school in the 1970s in Logansport--a small Rust Belt city that's 90 minutes north of Indianapolis and is every bit of what you'd picture a small Rust Belt city to be like. It's easy to be drawn to the chapters in Indiana basketball lore that tell stories of tiny farm towns or mention the great players who came from cities such as Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Gary. But make no mistake: The small manufacturing cities like Logansport, New Castle, Marion, Kokomo, Anderson, Richmond, and Muncie are where Hoosier Hysteria reached its apex, especially during the '60s, '70s, and '80s. By 1985, seven of the eight schools in my dad's high school conference (North Central Conference) played in gyms that held more than 6,500 people, while the smallest gym in the NCC had a capacity of nearly 6,000.