Hickory Honoree: The 1911 Crawfordsville Team, State Champions

Editor's Note: Most of the historical information and quotes for this article were found in an incredibly detailed retelling of Crawfordsville's 1911 State Championship run, by S. Chandler Lighty. For a more in depth look at Crawfordsville basketball, check out the Basketball Heritage Project, which chronicles the history of Montgomery County Basketball.

Crawfordsville's early dominance in Indiana high school basketball started the way so many great sports stories do: with a rivalry.

Since basketball's origins began in the late 1800s, the sport was a new concept to most. But as an indoor winter sport, it caught on quick in Indiana in the early 1900s; particularly in Crawfordsville.

The problem with being an early adopter of a sport is the challenge of finding someone to compete against, which is why Crawfordsville High School often competed against Wabash College, and other men's teams in its early days. However, as the sport gained a foothold in Indiana, many high schools began to adopt the sport, including nearby Lebanon.

But in 1910, a controversy – let's just call it Championship-gate – was born when Crawfordsville finished the season with a 13-1 record, with its only loss being a road game against Lebanon. But Lebanon made a claim to be the top team as well, sporting a 20-2 record for the season, with one of its two losses being a road loss to Crawfordsville.

Well, this was a problem. Two teams believed they were the top high school team in Indiana, but there was no structure or governing body to make a ruling on the dispute.

Lebanon challenged Crawfordsville to a game at a neutral site to determine the true champion, but Crawfordsville declined the invite, incensing their newly-made rival.

When asked by his yearbook what his goal in life was, Crawfordsville basketball player Ben Myers said: "To defeat Lebanon."

The following season, the Indiana University Booster Club organized a tournament that would take the state's 12 best teams and put them together in a bracket. This was to be considered the first official State Championship.

As destiny would have it, Lebanon and Crawfordsville met in the finals, held in Bloomington on March 11, 1911.

The tournament organizers must have been in a hurry, because the game was Crawfordsville's third of the day, and Lebanon's second.

At halftime, Crawfordsville led 13-7. From there, Crawfordsville continued their assault, winning the game 24-17 with the help of 14 points from Carroll Stevenson.

The coach of the team, David A. Glascock, was presented with the State Championship trophy at halftime of the IU-Northwestern game that was played on the court following the Crawfordsville game, but the players were nowhere to be found.

"I had no idea where the players had gone," Glascock told a local paper. He suspected his players had made good on what they said at halftime, that they would be celebrating in downtown Bloomington if they won. By the time Glascock returned to the fraternity house where the players were staying, he found them all asleep, most likely the result of three basketball games in a day and a bit of revelry.

When the players returned to Crawfordsville as State Champs, they received a hero's welcome. Students started a parade, and even a bonfire. Apparently, the administrators were not pleased with the hullabaloo.

But the team didn't seem to care much about what anyone thought; they were the undisputed basketball State Champions; the first in Indiana's history. And because of that, for the rest of time, they will always be remembered.