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GEMS OF THE PAST: ELLETTSVILLE & EDGEWOOD

by Harley Sheets

Forgotten Recollections

At the age of 68, remembering things is a problem. Oft times, when descend­ing the stairs at home, I have forgotten my purpose upon reaching the bottom.

In a letter from R. Robison, was a newspaper clipping from the Bloomington Herald-Telephone (March 6, 2003 - page 1B) recalling Edgewood High School's first sectional championship.

While reading it, I recollected that I had seen this team play in the 1993 re­gional at Hulman Arena in Terre Haute. Simultaneously, the cerebellum, cere­brum, medulla oblongata or whatever part of the brain it is that re-energizes past events really started kicking in, making other dormant memories issue forth. (1) The hotdogs at Hulman had been the best I had consumed, with the exception of Briggs Stadium (later Tiger Stadium) in Detroit; (2) I had met B. Michael McCormick for the first time and he had passes to the hospitality room, where we munched on goodies between games; (3) The energetic but well behaved Edgewood fans, had seemed more like a family than unruly fans. After all, it was the first re­gional in school history and (4) I recalled that one of the Edgewood starters had been quite animated - a cheerleader on the floor. Although he had seemed, to me, a bit flaky, the crowd had loved him and he, by no means, had been a slacker.

There is more to tell about Edgewood, but my gray matter is emitting signals from another era over 50 years in the past.

A Talk With Tom

About a year ago, I was in Cloverdale on a rainy day. I had previously acquired information that Hall of Famer Tom Goldsberry lived nearby. I reached him by phone and got an invitation to his home.

After graduating from Greencastle (1931) and Central Normal-Danville, In­diana, in 1935, he had come back to Greencastle, as coach of the Tiger Cubs in 1947-48 and was on my high school's schedule during my two-year tenure as a Lebanon Tiger in 1953 and 1954.

In between, he made head coaching stops at • Millersburg (Warrick Co.), Lynnville, Bridgeton and Ellettsville. He won his first sectional at Bridgeton in 1944, but his most notable accomplish­ment was at Ellettsville in 1947.

Coincidentally, EHS and Stinesville formed Edgewood in 1964-65.

During our talkfest many names and events were resurrected from Mr. Goldsberry's mental archives. The one that really grabbed my attention, was of Ellettsville's Ed Hudson, whom I had never heard of. Of course, I was just turning twelve in March of 1947 when the Ed Hudson show hit the state tour­nament trail.

Golden Eagles Reign In Martinsville

Ellettsville's state tournament led­ger shows them winning sectionals in 1947, 1950 (also won only regional), 1952 and 1961. However, the Eagles' talons were most likely the sharpest in 1947. That year at the Martinsville sec­tional, the Eagles easily deposed of Eminence and Bloomington University in their first two encounters. The third victim was Bloomington High (42-36), who had survived Mooresville by two and Ellettsville's soul mate, Stinesville, by one point after a Stinesville player missed two free throws with three sec­onds remaining.

The championship game pitted the Eagles against the host Martinsville Artesians, who, like Bloomington had survived by one point in a win over Monrovia in their initial contest. Ellettsville led all the way in claiming a 45-36 win, but the Golden Eagles would soar higher in the upcoming regional verses Terre Haute Garfield and its 6 ­foot 9 giant, Clyde Lovellette.

In a previous Boxscore (Fall-1999, page 6) in an article entitled Racism In Indiana, Part II, a synopsis of the 1947 regular season meeting and the state championship bout between Garfield and the Shelbyville Golden Bears was published.

This article is reprinted in this issue (see page 7) for those newer members who didn't get to read it and for older members who may have forgotten. A second reason for this repeat is to show what a worthy adversary the 1947 Ellettsville Golden Eagles had to be. After all, Garfield was the consensus choice to become Indiana's first unde­feated state champions.

Miners, Apple Boys And Two Flocks Of Eagles

The Ellettsville Golden Eagles, like the Edgewood Mustangs in '93, after overcoming major obstructions in their respective sectionals, had greater heights to ascend if they where to obtain a regional crown. A small hamlet in west central Clay County would be their first opponent. Coached by Richard Oglesby, the Cory Apple Boys, like Ellettsville, had won their first sectional.

After Garfield took out the defending regional champion Linton Miners (48-36), the Apple Boys proved to be a formidable foe. Ellettsville prevailed by one point in a hair-raiser, when starting guard Kenneth Ray stepped to the line and nailed two free throws with seven seconds remaining.

With Garfield having played the first game, which gave them more rest, a string of 28 straight victories and "Big Clyde", (see Boxscore-Fall 1998, page 5, entitled "Down In The Valley" by David Lee Compton), Willard Kehrt's Purple Eagles seemed almost a clear cut cinch to claim the regional crown. They had also played a much tougher and more competitive regu­lar season schedule. Ellettsville, on the other hand, had been extended to its fullest by little Cory.

However, the facts on the surface were somewhat deceiving. The Golden Eagles were superior to the Apple Boys. Why?

The Cory aggregation was not a fluke, which had gotten to the regional by acci­dent. They were indeed a worthy opponent, according to this piece on the sports page of the Bloomington World-Telephone (March 10,1947) by Grady Bennett. There it states, "Cory was the smallest team [also in enrollment] in the tournament and prob­ably the most highly skilled. Cory had to be highly skilled to compensate for its size disadvantage." At the same time the Apple Boys did catch a break. The column goes on, "Ellettsville's Ed Hudson [undoubtedly the Eagles' best player] sick from a severe cold, influenza or whatever, didn't enter the game until late in the third quarter. His ill­ness had taken away some of his strength, but his lion-like fighting courage remained in tact."

In describing Ellettsville's nail-biting victory, Dale Burgess of the Associated Press has this to say. "Ed Hudson, on the EHS sidelines because of illness, was rushed into the scrap late in the third stanza, that ended 25-20 in favor of Cory. With Hudson back, the Eagles pulled themselves together for a one point triumph at the ex­pense of the hot-hitting and fleet-moving CHS crew." Goldsberry and his crew now faced the ultimate test in the #1 rated Purple Eagles.

 EHS faltered badly, trailing 16-8, 33­15, and 42-30 at the end of the first three stops, but with Ed Hudson playing su­premely at the center position, the game took on a different aura. Lovellette fouled out early in the fourth quarter, and with two minutes left, the Eagles had pulled to within four at 47-43. Ellettsville went on to score four more points, but Garfield scored one point to post the victory, 48­47.

The final stats show Hudson out scor­ing Lovellette, 19-5, with Garfield's Ron Bland (1947 Trester Award winner) matching Hudson's 19. Also taking up the slack for Lovellette's subpar game was Gordon Neff with 14. Neff would later guide Terre Haute South to three consecu­tive final four appearances in 1977, 1978 and 1979.

If Ellettsville had an "Achilles Heel," the problem was addressed by Coach Goldsberry after the championship game of the Martinsville sectional. When asked about his team's performance, he com­mented that he thought the boys did well, "Except they missed a lot of foul shots." This evolved once more verses Garfield. Both teams made 17 field goals. EHS made but 13 of 31 free throws while GHS made 14 of 24.

Analysis And Speculation

In the process of researching this epic high school basketball occurrence, it was noted that Ellettsville had lost one game until late in the season, then lost two of their last three jousts, because of an in­jury to starting guard Tapp and an illness to Hudson (probably the same malady that continued to plague him in the tour­nament). My guess is that Coach Goldsberry intentionally held Ed out of the Cory game to save him for Garfield, worrying that the illness would not per­mit the exertion required for two games in the same day.

Whatever the circumstances, Tom Goldsberry's Golden Eagles soared to new heights and almost landed at "Heaven's Door." The Ellettsville news­paper put it this way: "Ellettsville did not win but scared the daylights out of the top-rated team in the state."

Edgewood Bombards Big Boys

As you will see, Edgewood (enroll­ment 775) faced a daunting task, much like its predecessor, Ellettsville, as it pre­pared for the 1993 Bedford sectional. Three schools had, by today's standard, 4A enrollments - Bedford North Lawrence (1725), Bloomington South (1600) and Bloomington North (1327). Compounding the situation was the fact that EHS had lost to all three schools in the regular season.

To make a long story short, the sud­denly Mighty Mustangs methodically mowed down all three in order - South (58-30), BNL (58-48) and North (58­38). How did this metamorphosis occur?

An article in the Bloomington Her­ald-Times explains: Starting the season at 7-6 was nothing to indicate a banner season, but shortly thereafter, an Edgewood cheerleader was killed in an automobile accident. Before this, "We truly weren't a team. We didn't have enough basketballs to go around. It took almost a whole season for them to figure this out. But after Lori's death, the boys pulled themselves together and every­thing was for the team and Lori. Once they all got on board, it was a thing of beauty. Down the stretch we were on automatic pilot, the best sequence of bas­ketball I've ever had a team play," said coach Jeff Bertsch, who had enjoyed nothing but winning seasons in his 10 year tenure at Edgewood. After the clos­ing victory, the celebration on the floor was nothing compared to what awaited the team in Ellettsville. Shades of 1947. But the season wasn't over.

The Regional In Terre Haute

As I ventured forth to the regional, I had assumed that tickets would be avail­able at the door, but was sorely mistaken. However, I was fortunate enough to pur­chase a ducat from an Edgewood sup­porter at the regular price. I had expected to pay a premium, but not so. Later, I surmised that having an extra ticket, the fellow just wanted to make sure that any­one that made the effort to see his Mus­tangs play should be able to do so.

I had really come to see little school powerhouse White River Valley, coached by the current coach at Franklin High School, Dave Clark. And I wasn't disap­pointed. But I also got to see the Mighty Mustangs eliminate #7 rated Terre Haute North, another large school with an en­rollment of 1550.

The article previously mentioned, by Lynn Houser, concludes this way: 'We beat four straight schools [much] bigger than us and then got beat by a lA school [White River]," said Bertsch. "It was the epitome of what the state tournament once was."

Residents in and around Ellettsville were entranced by their Mustangs with the black bands in remembrance of Lori, just as they had been enchanted by the Golden Eagles in 1947s.

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