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by Roger Robison, IHSBHS President

Arthur Trester (1878-1944), the IHSAA Commissioner from 1928 to 1944, was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, Mass.) in 1961 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (New Castle, Ind.) in 1965. He is the only known high school commissioner in the Naismith HOF. Coach John Doyle (Jake) Blacker (1893-1970) has not been so honored but he is still revered by some (yet reviled by others) in Montgomery County. Blacker played on two Wingate state champions ('13, '14) and won two sectionals ('17,'18) while coaching at Wingate. At Crawfordsville during the period 1919-21 he had 74 wins and 20 losses (79%) with two sectional titles, a final four finish in 1919, the 1920 Tri-State Tourney title, and was runner-up at the 1920 Stagg National Interscholastic Tournament. The season of 1919-20 helped put Trester into the HOF and keep Blacker out.

Trester was born in rural Hendricks County and attended Plainfield Academy before graduating from Earlham in 1904. He was 6'4" as an adult and was reported to have participated in all the major sports at Earlham. He began teaching at Alexandria HS from 1904-09 while doing graduate work at Columbia University during the summer. After obtaining a master's degree he became the principal at Alexandria and from 1909-16 the school superintendent. In 1910-11 he was elected to the IHSAA Board of Control. [1]

The IHSAA was formed in 1903-04 and had three elected officers, designated as the Board of Control: president, treasurer, and secretary. Each would be newly elected every two or three years. The IHSAA issued its first suspension in December 1905, to Lebanon High School. After being caught using three "ringers" in a football game with Westfield, Lebanon's principal, E.G. Walker, claimed that "...inasmuch as we have not paid our (IHSAA) dues ...you have no jurisdiction in this matter."

By 1906-07, it became obvious that the secretarial job needed to be a permanent position and be added to those of the other three elected members. For the princely sum of $25, J.T. Giles (from Marion) took the job on a part-time basis from 1906-07 through 1912-13. Trester took it over on a permanent basis in 1913-14. Continuing concurrently as a school superintendent, he moved to Martinsville and served there from 1916-17 to 1918-19, then on to LaPorte from 1919-20 to 1921-22. After he threatened to quit as permanent secretary, the IHSAA made his job full-time in May 1922 and raised his salary from $1000 to $5000 per year, plus expenses. He was also furnished with clerical help. In 1922-23, he resigned his position at LaPorte, acquired a secretary, and moved his office to Anderson. [1]

There were five other elected board members after 1916 but, as he was the only permanent member, Trester came to dominate the proceedings. This was officially acknowledged in 1929 when he was appointed Commissioner at $6000 per year. The press found him rather dictatorial and often referred to him as the czar or king of the IHSAA [1]. "The rules are clear; the penalties severe" became the slogan for King Arthur Trester and the Board of Control. Trester was installed in an office in the Circle Tower on Monument Circle in Indianapolis in October 1930 at $6500 per year and he presided from there until his death in September 1944 at age 66. [1]

Montgomery County with three state titles, along with Boone County with four state titles, were the two epicenters of Hoosier basketball from 1911-1919. In Montgomery County, Crawfordsville and Wingate were evenly matched though different in school size. Crawfordsville was the literary Athens of Indiana with a population of around 9400-10,000 from 1910-20, whereas Wingate was a whistle-stop on the Nickel Plate road, having roughly only 450 souls. [2]

Wingate and Crawfordsville
While still the part-time permanent IHSAA Secretary in November of 1919, Trester suspended both CHS and Wingate for the entire 1919-20 season. Wingate was about two miles from Fountain County, wherein lay the hamlets of Mellott with a population of 350, Newtown with 338, and Hillsboro with 530. For years Fountain County complained that Wingate was stealing its best players [4]. While still a part-time permanent secretary, Trester was running the IHSAA in November 1919 when he suspended both Wingate and Crawfordsville for the season.

Jake Blacker had been a teammate of Homer Stonebraker on the 1913 and 1914 state champions at Wingate and went to Wabash with him in 1914-15. Blacker dropped out to continue earning his teaching credential in summer school at Central Normal (Danville, IN) and at Butler. Blacker started coaching Wingate in 1916-17 and in 1918 he started sophomores Lon Goldsberry and the Crane boys. He won the Montgomery County sectional in both 1917 and 1918. This got him the job at Crawfordsville in 1919. At CHS he inherited five veterans from 1918--three guards and two forwards, Shelton and Shelley. [3,4]

In 1919, Blacker expanded the schedule from 20 games to 27 (24W-3L). To show off, Blacker scheduled both Lizton and Bainbridge on Dec. 4 1918, winning the first game 37-21 at 7:30 pm and the second 34-16 at 8:30 pm. CHS got its comeuppance the next day when it lost at Indianapolis Manual 21-14. [4] Blacker had a front court averaging 26.3 ppg after adding freshman Harry Kirby at center. Roy Etter, a new senior guard, chipped in another 6.8 ppg for the first 31 games and the team entered the state finals at Bloomington with a record of 28W-3L and averaging 33.6 ppg. The team probably would have won the title except that starting guard Etter, now playing at Wabash as a freshman, became ill just prior to the finals. In the final four they lost in overtime to Lafayette, a team they had beaten twice with Etter. CHS (now 30-4) had also thumped state champion Bloomington during the season. [5]

Crawfordsville had to be one of the favorites for the 1920 title as they returned three frontline starters: Shelton, Shelley, and Kirby. Also returning were four subs: the Gray brothers at guard, senior Chadwick and sophomore Cadwallader at F/C. However, Blacker had lost his two senior guards from 1919. He moved Shelley to guard alongside John Gray. Looking for another forward, he found Marion Blacker, a substitute on his 1917 and 1918 sectional champs.[16] Marion Blacker had come from Wingate to CHS but allegedly was not related to the coach. That transfer might have passed IHSAA scrutiny if CHS had kept quiet—but it didn't. [6,7,8,9]

CHS had played baseball in 1919 against Mellott High School which had a Fletcher Kerr playing there while he was also attending Newtown High School. That autumn, Kerr showed up on the Wingate team. CHS complained to the IHSAA about Kerr, who now joined Goldsberry and the Crane boys, all starters at Wingate since 1918. [9]

Meanwhile, Wingate had lost its 1918-19 substitute player, Marion Blacker, who was now at CHS for the 1919-20 season. Wingate suspected that coach Blacker was also trying to entice super-center Lon Goldsberry to attend CHS as well. Wingate responded to the IHSAA by accusing CHS of stealing substitute Marion Blacker and trying to steal Goldsberry.

The Dual Suspension of 1919-20
When the IHSAA investigated it could not prove anything against Kerr's double-duty activity, the initial cause of the Crawfordsville complaint. However, it found that Marion Blacker was ineligible (probably academically) both at Wingate (1918-19) and at Crawfordsville (1919-20). The accusations regarding Kerr and Goldsberry were "continued", probably for lack of evidence. Presumably, it had no evidence of "undue influence" accompanying the matter of reciprocal transfers.[1] Yet in response to the ineligibility of this one player Blacker, Trester and the Board suspended both teams for the entire1919-20 season. Heaven knows what relationship Marion really was to the CHS coach, but how much DNA diversity would exist in Wingate? It is possible that Marion was a relative of the coach and wanted to be accepted at CHS. A look at the team photo makes it certainly appear they could be related. [9,10]

As it turned out, coach Blacker started Marion at forward through December, during which time he apparently scored only 20 points. By January, he was on the bench and Kirby went to forward with Shelton while Chadwick became a fixture at center with relief from sophomore Bob Cadwaller. [10]

The two team suspensions took effect with little advance warning on Friday, Nov. 7, 1919. CHS had started play in October for its usual 30-game schedule (it would be 1924 before teams were restricted to 20 games under a new IHSAA rule). [1] CHS had already played four away games up to Nov. 7, the date that a dedication game with Zionsville was scheduled. The dedication was to showcase the beautiful new CHS auditorium-gym which seated 2500 spectators. [9] Coach Blacker belatedly scrambled to fill up the home schedule in order to appease season ticket holders. He managed to get a 22-game card arranged with 13 home games and nine away. Four games were against semi-pro teams.

Being "semi-pro" means that the pay-for-play boys kept their regular day jobs. Pro basketball players were not paid on a full-time basis until after World War II. The Em-Roes were probably the first semi-pro team in the state, having started in 1913 under the sponsorship of a sporting goods store owned by Lee Emmelman and Walter Roeder. [11] One of that team's chief rivals was the Columbus Commercials who featured future shoe guru Chuck Taylor, a 1919 Columbus HS graduate. Later, Taylor played for the Akron Firestone pro team.

Wingate was able to schedule only 16 games after its IHSAA suspension forced a cancelation against West Lafayette, scheduled for Nov. 7, the same day as the suspension became effective. It scheduled no games with Indianapolis teams. Three of its games were against the same opponents that CHS had scheduled. Whereas CHS twice defeated the Darlington club, Wingate lost to Darlington twice--once in overtime and once in double overtime. In the second loss, Bill Crane, Wingate's number two scorer, did not play and Cecil Ray Crane played with a cold. Because of those two losses, CHS was considered the better team; but it did not have a center the caliber of Wingate's Lon Goldsberry.

A series between CHS and Wingate never materialized because of existing mutual distrust. However, both Montgomery County powerhouses were invited to out-of-state tournaments in Cincinnati and Chicago. The IHSAA was perplexed about what to do with the rash of tourneys that were appearing. It had originally been slow to accept the state tourney in Bloomington in 1911. But in 1917 it approved the Wabash Valley Tourney in Terre Haute (and environs) which ultimately ran from 1916-70. And, evidently, it did not object to state schools participating before 1920 in the Tri-State tourney at Cincinnati which by now was in its fourth year.

In 1920, the Tri-State at Cincinnati expected 43 teams, but only 32 signed up. Trester prohibited any Indiana schools from participating because they might be competing against the suspended teams from Montgomery County. [12] By 1925 and '26 when Monrovia won the Tri-State, there were reportedly 74 entries each year. [13] In this one, CHS beat Wingate in overtime in the final four.

In the CHS vs. Wingate game, regulation time ended with the score tied 10-10. Goldsberry was held without scoring a FG, but he had sunk eight FTs. In the overtime, Cadwaller went in for Chadwick and scored twice while his teammates added another three points. In the final, CHS beat three-time defending champ Hamilton, Ohio, 25-22.

A month later, CHS and Wingate met again at this national tournament which featured 24 teams from nine different states. Due to the odd bracketing at Chicago, CHS played only four games while Wingate played five. Attendance for the tourney was 4000. This time, Goldsberry scored 14 points for Wingate to lead the upset win over CHS. Indiana dominated the All-Tourney team. [14] Wingate received lots of congratulatory telegrams but conspicuously absent were any from Arthur Trester [10] or the IHSAA. For the full 1919-20 season, outlaw CHS finished 29-2 while outlaw Wingate was 22-3. All three of Wingate's losses were in overtime. The interscholastic trophy from Chicago that was awarded to Wingate now resides in the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

Rumors surfaced that the University of Chicago basketball team took an interest in tiny Wingate during the Stagg Tourney and gave the team advice; especially from All-American guard Paul (Tony) Hinkle. [8] The Maroons were Big Ten champs that year and their coach Harlan Pat Page (1887-1965) was recruited to Butler in 1920 to coach football and basketball. He brought Paul Tony Hinkle (1899-1992) with him as an assistant and to coach varsity baseball. Page took Butler to the 1924 AAU basketball title, then left in 1926 for I.U. Hinkle took over as the Butler coach for all three major sports. Hinkle was born in Logansport but had gone to high school in Chicago.

CHS lost undergraduates Shelton, Kirby and Cadwaller for 1920-21. Two of them, including top gun Don Shelton, moved to Hammond and the other dropped out of school. [4] Only Will Gray from that team returned. Remarkably, CHS won the 1921 Montgomery sectional despite a record of only 15-14. Coach Blacker left in '21 for a peripatetic coaching career. He was at Waveland for 11 seasons; at Gilboa Twp. in Benton County near Wolcott (now part of Tri-County H.S.), for five seasons; at Eden H.S. (now part of Greenfield Central in Hancock County) for six years; and at Romney from 1944-45 until 1954. Counting his two years at Wingate and three at CHS, Blacker coached Indiana H.S. ball for 36 or 37 years. [15]

Lon Goldsberry went on to star at Wabash in football, basketball, and baseball. He then had a long and successful coaching career at Shortridge, Wabash and South Bend. He was inducted into the Indiana H.S. Basketball Hall of Fame in 1972 and his comprehensive biography has been written by noted Montgomery County historian Bill Boone. [16]

In February 1922, Wingate won the Montgomery County sectional. But Hillsboro complained loudly that the school had stolen players from its basketball team. Consequently, Wingate dismissed three starters and forfeited its regional game, thereby ending its season but successfully avoiding further IHSAA sanctions. [4, 17] In October 1922, after Trester had been appointed full-time Secretary for the IHSAA in May, the IHSAA passed new rules limiting to 20 the number of regular season games its member schools could schedule. However, participation in two tournaments was also allowed, in addition to the state tourney. [1]

The InterscholasticTournament at the University of Chicago went on to become the premier post-season tournament--in essence, a national showcase. Amos Alonzo Stagg, the A.D. at the university, sponsored it, probably as a college recruiting tool. In 1921, only 16 teams participated. A team from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the championship. In 1922, the date of the tourney was changed to the first week in April which would accommodate the participation of any state champions and/or state runners-ups that might choose to enter. [18]

The IHSAA never allowed Indiana high schools to participate in any basketball tourneys played after a state tournament was concluded. That rule also applied to the Stagg Interscholastic which started in 1917 and continued through 1920-30 before it was banned by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS).

[]] Glenn, Dale. History of the IHSAA. Mitchell-Fleming Greenfield IN,1976
[2] Boxscore, 2013 Fall: Wingate et al
[3] Whalen, Bob. Crawfordsville HS Basketball Record Book, 1900-1996. 1997.
[4] Whalen Bob. Personal correspondence, 1916 & 1919 seasons.
[5] Boxscore, 2019 Summer: 1919 State Tournament
[6] Whalen, Bob. Personal correspondence, 1920 season; 9/13/95.
[7] Robison, R. Everett Case & the Frankfort Hot Dogs, Ch. 4, p.37, 1995.
[8] Boone, Bill. Disaster Strikes Montgomery County. Montgomery County Basketball. Hall of Fame Inc. Newsletter, August 2009; V4; #2. (Tony Hinkle)
[9] Boone, Bill. History of Crawfordsville Sectional. Indiana Basketball History Magazine. V.28.#1.
Winter 2020. Photos courtesy Bill Boone; 2020 March.
[10] Crawfordsville Daily Journal, 1919-1920.
[11] Gould, Todd. Pioneers of the Hardwood. I.U. Press, Bloomington, 1998
[12] Cincinnati Post, Feb. 1920.
[13] Branch McCracken biography, @ Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
[14] Chicago Tribune, March 1920.
[15] Whalen, Bob. Forgotten Players & Coaches of Montgomery County, in "Sports Highlights."
[16] Boone, Bill. Lon Goldsberry @ wingatespartans.blogspot.com› 2011/07, accessed March 2020.
[17] The Richmond Palladium and Sun-telegram, March 11, 1922, Page 13, Accessed @ Indiana digital newspapers; March 2020.
[18] Johnson, Scott. Interscholastic Records, Illinois High School Athletic Association, 1996.

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