March 20, 2010

Milan Wins on This Day in Indiana History

On this day in 1954, Milan defeated Muncie Central 32-30 in the Indiana High School Basketball Championship. It marked a major victory for the small school vs. the large school in Indiana Hoosier Hysteria.

Few basketball fans outside of Milan realize that this story of the greatest underdog in sports' history actually began a year before that championship season. In the 1952-1953 season, the Milan Indians advanced to the final four of the state bowing out in the semi-finals to South Bend Central. The nucleus of that team returned to form what is now called the '54 team.

Under the leadership of twenty-six year old coach Marvin Wood, the Indians began their rise to the top of the 751 teams entered in that year's tournament, with a record of 19-2. The mighty men of Milan then cruised through the state tournament relatively untested, until the final game against Muncie Central. The Indians were paced in scoring throughout the game by senior Ray Craft. However, Coach Wood's delay tactic game plan would place the ball in the trusty hands of another senior, Bobby Plump. Plump's famous final second shot assured the championship victory for the Indians.