That's what Varsity Coach Doug Miller told the audience gathered for the kick-off of the County Sports exhibit at the Putnam County Museum. Miller was joined by three of the team's players; Chad Remsburg, Brad Vanbibber and Eric Twigg, as well as coaches Jeff Miller and Tony Robertson and 1988 school Principal Bob Harbison.
The panel of men recalled the incredible excitement of an era of basketball unrivaled in Putnam County history.
"It was an amazing time. The best memory I have is still the Undedication Game in the downtown gym against Riverton Parke. That was the start of it all," said Miller.
In the late 1980s, the county was reeling from the news of the pull out of IBM and the impact it would have.
"There wasn't a kid on the team who didn't have a parent or family member affected by that," said Remsburg.
In the winter of that same year a Greencastle team would create hysteria as they were propelled on a journey that ended just two games shy of a state championship.
"We hadn't had a particularly good season. We lost a lot that season," laughed Vanbibber.
The Tiger Cubs began the season by winning the Putnam County Championship. But their success was short-lived. They lost four straight games by a total of just 14 points. The season continued going up and down with wins and losses. Then came the February game that energized the community. Their team record was 10-8.
The Undedication Game was to be the last game held in the old downtown gym. Organizers decided to send the building out in a blaze of glory. And, that is what happened when the Tiger Cubs took the court.
"It was small and crowded. I don't know how many cheerleaders got knocked over that night because there wasn't any room. I never felt more pressure to win a game than I did that night," recalled Remsburg.
And win they did, by a 52-point margin, beating Riverton Parke 106-54.
"We had never played in front of a crowd like that. McAnally was so big that it was never full. The old gym was packed. And it was small. I knew we could beat anybody that night," said Remsburg.
The Tiger Cubs finished the regular season 12-9 and went on to face a Rockville team led by Jody Gooch in the sectional opener. The Cubs beat them in overtime.
Next they beat South Putnam and took the sectional after coming from behind by 13 points after the lights went out in the gymnasium.
"To this day, I'm sure people think we did that. We didn't. Something happened to the lights and it took them a while to come back after they went out. It changed the game," said Miller.
When the lights came up the Cubs went on a 16-0 run, giving them a three-point lead at the end of the game.
"From there we couldn't be stopped," said Miller.
They beat Northview in the first round of the regionals, only to face Shakamak in the final game.
"I didn't even know who Shakamak was," smiled Twigg.
They won that game and faced off against Evansville Central, winning again in overtime.
The only thing left standing between the Tiger Cubs and a trip to the Final Four was Damon Bailey from Bedford North Lawrence.
"I took a charge from Bailey and didn't think I could get up. The next day I couldn't get up," recalled Vanbibber with a grimace.
For three quarters, the Cubs held their own, but Bedford and Bailey pulled away in the fourth quarter and ended up winning.
"From the time of the Undedication game, it was all fantastic. People in the community were so behind us. It was special," said Miller.
The group gathered together Saturday morning -- teams, coaches, and players including the Cloverdale 1982 Sectional winners -- were smiling wrapped in the nostalgia of an era of single-class basketball. It was a time when any size high school could become a legend in the greatest sport in Indiana.
The new exhibit at the Museum brings back those days of Hoosier Hysteria when gyms were packed with fans and entire towns turned out for Friday and Saturday night games.
Surrounded by photos, equipment, letter jackets, old programs, scrapbooks, senior cords and all types of memorabilia one can relive or learn about Putnam County's long history of sports. All the county schools are included from Russellville to Belle Union. There are mascots from all the schools along with trophies, ribbons and videos of great moments in the county's sports history.
"It took us a while to find all the mascots but we finally got them for all the high schools. We have schools that date back to 1917," said Museum Director Anne Lovold.
Interested people can learn more next Saturday at 10 a.m. when the Museum hosts a second segment on Putnam County sports. The history of the area's track and field highlights will be discussed by an All Big Ten Pole Vaulter, several long time coaches and athletes, and a special high school volleyball coach. You have to attend the event to find out who these folks will be.
Museum officials will also announce the winner of the "Greatest Sports Legend" of Putnam County. Some of those entered into the contest are Lisa Allen, Jeff Blue, Jana and Jona Braden, Brian and Bruce Bridgewater, Wayne Bright Archie Chadd, Chet Clodfelter, Joe Franklin, Rick Ford, Jess McAnnally, Ray Sears, Larry Steele, Chad Tucker, Denise Weinhoeft. Write-in votes are allowed.
You can cast your ballot at the Museum, mail them or e-mail them to the Museum at email@example.com. You can also pick ballots up at the Banner Graphic and Hoosier Topics. All ballots are due by Jan. 14.
To see the new sports exhibit stop by the Museum Tuesday-Friday from 1-4 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Putnam County Museum is located at 1105 N. Jackson Street. For more information call 653-8419.