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Regional champs speak at museum

Monday, January 12, 2009

1988 Basketball champions Chad Remsburg, Brad Vanbibber and Eric Twigg talked with their coaches Doug Miller, Tony Robertson, Principal Bob Harbison and Coach Jeff Miller during the kick-off of the Putnam County Museum's new Sports exhibit. The men were part of a panel discussing the 1988 Tiger Cub run for the State title in basketball.
A building that no longer exists in the center of Greencastle was the catalyst spurring the 1988 Greencastle High School Tiger Cubs run for the Indiana State Boys Basketball championship.

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 museum1@co.putnam.in.us. 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.

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Uh, just because it was Greencastle doesn't make it "unrivaled in Putnam County history". Cloverdale 1966 Final Four ring any bells?

-- Posted by Unbiased on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 2:29 PM

I agree with unbiased Cloverdale made the final four and the same year Bainbridge lost to Lafayette Jeff on their home floor in the Semi-State, good year for Putmam County. Also on your list of legends I only see a couple of NBA players and while I'm not sure about Jeff Blue I know Larry Steele has a NBA championship ring.

-- Posted by Trying hard on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 3:18 PM

ok guys read the article closer. It never says that the Greencastle run was unrivaled, it says the ERA was unrivaled. If you wold have taken the time to come to the Museum you would know many teams were talked about and honored. There was a lot of conversation about class basketball. The era she is talking about is pre class basketball, and when Putnam County and the world was much smaller and high school basketball was the biggest thing in town. Iam sure that both of you have had to take a 2 1/2 hour conversation and break it down to a small written artical and thats why you can both judge something that you were not a part of.

-- Posted by GHS22 on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 5:40 PM

the only one i know is jess mcannally,played with my father fred masten, died while playing as i remember, was a friend of his fathers, i dont think his mother ever got over his untimely death. while a policeman in greencastle in the 50'and 60' his dad delivered papers that came by bus at the station on seminary st. he would be there about 4am and run his route when the papers came, he seemed like a very dejected person but always had a smile and a good word for everyone.

-- Posted by bmasten on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 6:39 PM

The author could have easily included parts of the other conversations about other schools in the county, but that didn't happen. While the exhibit is about basketball throughout Putnam County, the article made it appear the conversation was totally about the 1988 Greencastle team. It was neat to read about that '88 Tiger Cub team and the season but I didn't read anything about the Bainbridge teams of the 1960's, North Putnam teams of the late '70's or the powerful Cloverdale squads of the early 80's.

-- Posted by purple_heat on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 8:35 PM

Come on people!

It was a good time for many!

They interviewed players from the 88 team, they deserve it. If the Banner covered every game ever played as many of you want, it would'nt be a daily paper it would be a book. Maybe you should write one? Just let it go. These guys were good and so were others, give them credit where credit is due.

I knew each one of these guys and each one is/was a stand up honest too goodness good person. If you read the actual article you will notice its about a museum! Oh and guess whats in that museum?

Yep you guessed it Sports memorabilia!

And what sports memorabilia you ask?


And in that museum are koodoos to all the teams and players that could be collected from our county.

Jeff Lancaster

-- Posted by Jeff Lancaster on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 8:56 AM

Jeff, I will agree in the fact that the guys on that team are great people along with Doug Miller and Robert Harbison. I think most people are upset in the fact that even though the musuem's display is about Putnam County sports history, the article was about a Greencastle sporting team. If the musuem brought in players from the 1986 State Championship Football team from South Putnam, not as many people would be critizing the Banner or the musuem. That team captured the championship just as the county was reeling from the announcement of IBM closing earlier that year. The Eagles gave the entire county something positive to think about and be proud of.

-- Posted by purple_heat on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 1:42 PM

No mention of Ray Churchill or Mike Troyer from GHS class of 1967?

-- Posted by localman on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 7:38 PM

Wow amazing!

-- Posted by 1stamendrights on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 10:18 AM

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