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Kickin' It Old School - Fans Pack Hoosier Gym to Watch Indiana's Best Ball Players Go at It on Knightstown's Historic Hardwood
June 11, 2008 - Most high school basketball all-star games follow pretty much the same format: the game becomes a free-for-all, slam-dunk fest in which players are showcasing their individual talents.
But when the all-stars come to the historic Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, the competitive juices begin to flow and the players work together as a team to accomplish the goal of actually winning the game.
They know they are in a unique facility, and it shows on the basketball court.
“Most all-star games are held in huge buildings with a really large crowd,” Hoosier Gym President Jarrett Hagy said. “This game takes on a completely different setting, with 800 people crammed into the gymnasium and right next to the court. That makes this game much more fun to play in and also more fun to watch.”
The third annual Hoosiers Reunion All-Star Classic, for the most part, went off without a hitch, and accomplished its primary goal of raising money for the Hoosier Gym. Hagy said he hadn’t calculated final numbers yet, but the event likely raised in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $10,000, similar to last year’s fundraiser.
The all-star games represent the biggest single fundraiser for the facility every year. The better news is the boys and girls teams appear to enjoy playing in the game here more than in other venues.
“If the kids don’t want to come here and play then we can’t have this,” Hagy said. “But the best players in the state do want to play here and we’ve already had some of the top juniors in the state asking about being in this game next year.”
Hagy was appreciative of Classic director Gary Donna, Kip Wesner and Brian Kemery, all of Hoosier Basketball Magazine. He praised the more than 40 volunteers it took to bring everything together.
“We had a lot of volunteers involved in this and it was a lot of work,” Hagy said. “The Knightstown Volunteer Fire Department and the police department donated their time and people, and everyone involved did a really great job. It takes a lot of people to pull this off.”
The only glitch on the day involved an electrical problem with the air conditioning unit. Once that went out, the gym heated up past the century mark. But so did the new scoreboards.
The bleachers were full of people fanning themselves with the program, but the players didn’t seem to mind. Both the boys and girls games were extremely competitive from start to finish.
The Classic announcer was Steve Cherry and the scorekeeper was Larry Bundy, who played his high school basketball in the gym. Athletic trainers were Stacie Feltz and Hancock Regional Hospital’s Dan Lukens, a 1977 KHS graduate. Referees included Dennis Angel, Jason Hornaday, Tony Ortman and Greg Reece.
The event did its job by raising money for the Hoosier Gym, and the high school all-stars got the chance to play in a facility that they grew up hearing about and first saw in the movie Hoosiers.
“The plan is to do it again next year,” Hagy said. “I think the Classic is definitely unique because it’s not a typical all-star game. It’s a real game in that, for whatever reason, both the boys and girls teams really wanted to win it. That makes it very entertaining.”
Hagy said of the 800 tickets available for the Classic, just 15 or 20 were not sold. The funds will help considerably in countering the Hoosier Gym’s operating costs. A statewide television audience watched the game on WHMB, Channel 40, putting the town in a positive spotlight once again.
“The payoff is great for the Gym and the community,” Hagy said.
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