The 1969 Indpls. Washington Continentals Nearly Had it Slip Away

Trailing 60-59, the undefeated Indianapolis Washington Continentals, led by George McGinnis and coached by legendary Indiana high school coach Bill Green, found their dream season in serious jeopardy.

In front of a deafening crowd at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis Washington was trailing Marion by one point, but had the ball with a chance to take a lead.

First, on offense, McGinnis was whistled for a double dribble at the top of the key, giving possession back to Marion. Then, on defense, McGinnis faltered again, getting called for a foul while attempting to press his man.

The pair of missteps ended up not costing the Continentals any points, as the Giants were unable to capitalize on the turnover.

But in the final minute of play, with the clock winding down, Louie Day received a pass on the wing that slipped his grasp. The ball tumbled towards the sideline with the team's undefeated season hanging in the balance.

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Day chased it down, and planted both feet inches from the out-of-bounds line, but his momentum was carrying him out of the field of play.

Frantically searching for a teammate, Day heaved a pass towards the half court as he fell backwards. Marion's Jerry Townsend jumped through the air to try to make the interception, but was unable to haul it in, instead tipping it out of bounds.

With new life, the Continentals tried yet another shot to take the lead, as Jim Arnold hoisted a jumper from the wing.

The shot hit iron and skied into the air, where Steve Downing — who would later win an NBA title with the Boston Celtics — rose up above the defense to snare the offensive rebound and force a jump ball.

Downing won the jump ball, followed by a quick timeout to draw up the final play.

When they resumed play, the Continentals wasted no time getting the ball to Downing, who backed down his man in the post before making a difficult spinning jump shot from the baseline.

The score gave the Continentals a 61-60 lead, and on Marion's final possession, Downing got a piece of the shot and McGinnis secured the rebound.

The ball was quickly passed to Wayne Pack, who sprinted out in the open floor and was fouled with barely any time left on the clock.

Although Pack missed both the free throws, the clock expired as Indianapolis Washington was able to salvage its perfect season despite a series of errors down the stretch.

Thanks to the IHSAA, you can watch the final frantic moments, as well as the entire title game, which was also a close affair for the Continentals.

In their finals matchup, which happened on the same day as the semi-final, the Continentals topped Gary Tolleston high school 79-76, completing their perfect season and winning the second state title for the school in a five-year span.