Ohio's version of "Hoosiers"

Which Ohio team most closely compares to the Milan team in "Hoosiers"?

  • 1934 & 1935 Waterloo Wonders

  • 1946 Farmer Tigers (the "Dirty Shirts")

  • 1949 Miller City Wildcats

  • 1992 Berlin Hiland

  • 2000 Fort Jennings

  • 2006 South Webster

  • 2008 New Knoxville

  • 2015 Defiance

  • 2018 Marion Local

  • Other

  • 1928 Marshall


Results are only viewable after voting.

Irish60

Well-known member
I watched Hoosiers again recently. We all know the story. The team from tiny Milan, IN defeats the big city powerhouse in an upset for the ages. This got me to thinking which Ohio team would best match the Milan HS story? If they filmed a sequel using an Ohio team, which championship season would best stand shoulder to shoulder with the original? I will readily admit that I do not have the knowledge in this area to render an informed opinion, but I am interested to hear stories of championship seasons past that continue to echo through the years in small towns across Ohio.
 
I watched Hoosiers again recently. We all know the story. The team from tiny Milan, IN defeats the big city powerhouse in an upset for the ages. This got me to thinking which Ohio team would best match the Milan HS story? If they filmed a sequel using an Ohio team, which championship season would best stand shoulder to shoulder with the original? I will readily admit that I do not have the knowledge in this area to render an informed opinion, but I am interested to hear stories of championship seasons past that continue to echo through the years in small towns across Ohio.
Ohio would be harder to have their own version of Hoosiers because we crown 4 state champions every year instead of 1. For Ohio to have the same setup for something like Hoosiers it would have to be based on a D4 school. Looking recently, I think Ohio’s best bet would be South Webster’s 2006 state championship season, mainly because of the whole small town school winning a state championship idea.
 

Talk some sense

Active member
Ohio would be harder to have their own version of Hoosiers because we crown 4 state champions every year instead of 1. For Ohio to have the same setup for something like Hoosiers it would have to be based on a D4 school. Looking recently, I think Ohio’s best bet would be South Webster’s 2006 state championship season, mainly because of the whole small town school winning a state championship idea.
FYI Indiana has had classes for many years as well. Wanted more kids to experience winning state titles I guess. One class was what made Hoosiers so special. Also made winning a sectional or regional (making sweet 16) a big deal for a lot of schools.
 
2007 Georgetown's Undefeated Season?


2002 Roger Bacon's win over Lebron?
There is already a book about it:

2012 Summit Country Day
Also a book about it:

 
There is also a cool little museum in Milan dedicated to their state championship run and the movie Hoosiers.


I've also been told you can visit the gym in Knightstown, IN

 

Insane92

Well-known member
2008 New Knoxville winning it all for their first championship. Town of less than 1,000 and a school of 150 ish 9-12. Unbelievable team I might add that year too.

Also 2018 Marion Local upsetting Cornerstone Christian in OT for the state championship. One of the best games I’ve ever seen.
 

USA70PP

Well-known member
FYI Indiana has had classes for many years as well. Wanted more kids to experience winning state titles I guess. One class was what made Hoosiers so special. Also made winning a sectional or regional (making sweet 16) a big deal for a lot of schools.
Classes began 1997/98.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
There is also a cool little museum in Milan dedicated to their state championship run and the movie Hoosiers.


I've also been told you can visit the gym in Knightstown, IN

Quite a few Ohio schools have played in that gym.
Next year Coldwater and Celina will play there, believe they do a DH where the girls play, then the boys.

Funny note: This past hoops season a local school was heading to the game and the AD had to turn around and go back to the school to get game balls as Ohio's game balls are Rawlings, not sure what Indiana has.....

In an "almost" Hoosier type of moment (the team got together and watched Hoosiers before each tourny game) a 4-16 Coldwater team made it all they way to the State Semi's. Want to say there was even a blurb in the USA Today about it.



As for Indiana.......Being so close and all our tv stations from there we knew much more about Indiana HS hoops. They were light years ahead of Ohio in televising games, live, in the tournament. We always marveled at how they would play two games in the same day and debate which would be better to play, the first game (10 am mabye?) or the second game (1pm ish) and the winners came back at 7pm.

Watched many a game where Hillard Gates was the announcer. The good ole days.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
How about Defiance knocking off CCC in the 2015 D2 title game? I know Defiance isn't "small" when compared to Milan, but certainly when compared to Cleveland.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
The four divisions we now have in Ohio may make the true "Hoosiers" comparison more difficult. Hopefully there are some old timers checking out this thread who can regale us with tales of teams from pre-1988 when there were 3 divisions or even pre-1971 when there were only two.
 
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Insane92

Well-known member
Quite a few Ohio schools have played in that gym.
Next year Coldwater and Celina will play there, believe they do a DH where the girls play, then the boys.

Funny note: This past hoops season a local school was heading to the game and the AD had to turn around and go back to the school to get game balls as Ohio's game balls are Rawlings, not sure what Indiana has.....

In an "almost" Hoosier type of moment (the team got together and watched Hoosiers before each tourny game) a 4-16 Coldwater team made it all they way to the State Semi's. Want to say there was even a blurb in the USA Today about it.



As for Indiana.......Being so close and all our tv stations from there we knew much more about Indiana HS hoops. They were light years ahead of Ohio in televising games, live, in the tournament. We always marveled at how they would play two games in the same day and debate which would be better to play, the first game (10 am mabye?) or the second game (1pm ish) and the winners came back at 7pm.

Watched many a game where Hillard Gates was the announcer. The good ole days.
Article I found on that Coldwater team in 1993. Pretty incredible story.
 

Snowman8

Member
This isn’t a deep tournament run, but more of a recent reference as to how a small school could pull off a giant upset. My friend is a coach in the MOCAL, a conference consisting of very small Christian schools in the Central District. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is the worst conference in Ohio. He tells me some news on the conference from time to time and I like to follow along to stay updated, but someone can correct me if this is wrong. This one stuck out because it was so unexpected. I played for a small team way back in the day, so I looked into it a little more out of curiosity since I tend to root for the underdog.

In 2019, Shekinah Christian, the smallest OHSAA team in the state, won a sectional title on the road against Centerburg, a team that recently was Division 3 and one of the largest schools in Division 4. Centerburg had just completely destroyed their opening round matchup (up 25-2 in the first quarter based on what I could find in the old box score), whereas that same opponent took Shekinah to OT earlier in the year.

My friend said he listened to the game on the radio because Shekinah was the only team in the conference to win a tournament game. He said the announcers rattled off some stat about how Shekinah was a scrappy team, but they only had like 14 boys in grades 9-12 while Centerburg had around 170. Shekinah had just 10 players on their roster and 5 of them were freshmen (as well as having no posts).

Again, not necessarily a great tournament run, but it was a big game in a small community with probably the largest small school/big school percentage disparity that I could think of in recent years.
 
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Irish60

Well-known member
This isn’t a deep tournament run, but more of a recent reference as to how a small school could pull off a giant upset. My friend is a coach in the MOCAL, a conference consisting of very small Christian schools in the Central District. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is the worst conference in Ohio. He tells me some news on the conference from time to time and I like to follow along to stay updated, but someone can correct me if this is wrong. This one stuck out because it was so unexpected. I played for a small team way back in the day, so I looked into it a little more out of curiosity since I tend to root for the underdog.

In 2019, Shekinah Christian, the smallest OHSAA team in the state, won a sectional title on the road against Centerburg, a team that recently was Division 3 and one of the largest schools in Division 4. Centerburg had just completely destroyed their opening round matchup (up 25-2 in the first quarter based on what I could find in the old box score), whereas that same opponent took Shekinah to OT earlier in the year.

My friend said he listened to the game on the radio because Shekinah was the only team in the conference to win a tournament game. He said the announcers rattled off some stat about how Shekinah was a scrappy team, but they only had like 14 boys in grades 9-12 while Centerburg had around 170. Shekinah had just 10 players on their roster and 5 of them were freshmen (as well as having no posts).

Again, not necessarily a great tournament run, but it was a big game in a small community with probably the largest small school/big school percentage disparity that I could think of in recent years.
Here is a brief article about the game courtesy of the Ashland Source.

https://www.ashlandsource.com/sports/boys_basketball/plain-city-shekinah-christian-pockets-solid-victory-over-centerburg/article_79d70dc5-80c3-59af-93ae-7d3a30862da3.html
 

Irish60

Well-known member
2008 New Knoxville winning it all for their first championship. Town of less than 1,000 and a school of 150 ish 9-12. Unbelievable team I might add that year too.

Also 2018 Marion Local upsetting Cornerstone Christian in OT for the state championship. One of the best games I’ve ever seen.
Here's a story on the New Knoxville championship courtesy of The Daily Standard.

https://dailystandard.com/archive/2008-03-17/stories/5482/rangers-finish-season-undefeated-state-champs
 

Irish60

Well-known member
Ohio would be harder to have their own version of Hoosiers because we crown 4 state champions every year instead of 1. For Ohio to have the same setup for something like Hoosiers it would have to be based on a D4 school. Looking recently, I think Ohio’s best bet would be South Webster’s 2006 state championship season, mainly because of the whole small town school winning a state championship idea.
Here is a pretty neat article on the South Webster team celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their championship. Courtesy of the Daily Times

https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/sports/4500/jeeps-honor-the-past
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Article I found on that Coldwater team in 1993. Pretty incredible story.
I forget when it started, but during the season Coach Niekamp started to sub all 5 at a time. It was pretty unique. I want to say a couple of kids came back from injury, the mass subs and things just clicked.
 

dhsdog06

Well-known member
How about Defiance knocking off CCC in the 2015 D2 title game? I know Defiance isn't "small" when compared to Milan, but certainly when compared to Cleveland.
The fact we beat Dunbar and CCC was impressive. And it's not like we were one of the known elites of the state. Not a bad choice, but we knew going in we had a shot. That team just had something about them all year. Not our best (early 10s teams were more talented), but they were the ones who found ways to win.
 
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dhsdog06

Well-known member
I was thinking Holgate off the bat.

After done research....apparently in 1923 STRYKER was somehow Class A. And got to state (final 16).

They lost, but the image of little Stryker, first hsving to through Bryan, Napoleon, Defiance and then being at state next to the likes of Bowling Green, Columbus West AND South, Youngstown Rayen, Cleveland St. Ignatius, Lorain, Dayton Steele is a pretty crazy.
 

FossyWriter8

Active member
1949-50 Miller City Wildcats.
Went 29-0 and won the Class B state title, which included an 11-0 run through the tournament.
Town had about 150 people.
Home court was called "The Barn" and was heated by two pot-bellied stoves.
Sports writer Dave Hanneman of The Courier in Findlay wrote a book in 2007 called "Wildcats: The Story of Miller City's Unbeaten State Championship Team Of 1950 " about the season.
If I recall correctly from the book, the champion and runner-up at each postseason level both advanced to the next round at the time, which would help explain how the Wildcats went 11-0 in the postseason. It's been a while since I read the book, though.
Interesting side note: John Born and William Dailey officiated both Class B semifinals and the state final, while Mack Schaffer and Andy Lindsay did the same in Class A.
 

cal

New member
I was thinking the 1992 (I think that's the year) Berlin Hiland basketball team and their dramatic come from behind win again Lima Central Catholic. That may have been the semi-final but nonetheless it was an awesome game and they won the state championship. Granted it wasn't like Indiana's "all-in one division" tourney but it was very dramatic. I was in HS then cheering on my school (St Joe's) and we stayed and watched all of the games. So, we had no verstige interest in who won. Then I think I read a story that Disney was looking to make a movie based on that team? Mainly because they had a black coach from Canton in a very rural Amish area and there was much admiration for the coach from the locals....especially when he passed away from cancer. Now, I don't remember where or when I heard that Disney story....it could have been a made-up rumor because I could not find anything on it just now.

The other candidate is the Waterloo Wonders from the 30s. I am not sure how many games they won but they won a ton and if half of the stories about that team is true then they really would be worthy of a movie. I think they may one in the works. I know there was a book. I actually had to do business in Ironton a few years back and I thought I would check out Waterloo and OMG is it ever a small town. Like, it is completely isolated down there. So, it is amazing those kids beat the big boys when it seemed like they did not have much.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
I was thinking the 1992 (I think that's the year) Berlin Hiland basketball team and their dramatic come from behind win again Lima Central Catholic. That may have been the semi-final but nonetheless it was an awesome game and they won the state championship. Granted it wasn't like Indiana's "all-in one division" tourney but it was very dramatic. I was in HS then cheering on my school (St Joe's) and we stayed and watched all of the games. So, we had no verstige interest in who won. Then I think I read a story that Disney was looking to make a movie based on that team? Mainly because they had a black coach from Canton in a very rural Amish area and there was much admiration for the coach from the locals....especially when he passed away from cancer. Now, I don't remember where or when I heard that Disney story....it could have been a made-up rumor because I could not find anything on it just now.

The other candidate is the Waterloo Wonders from the 30s. I am not sure how many games they won but they won a ton and if half of the stories about that team is true then they really would be worthy of a movie. I think they may one in the works. I know there was a book. I actually had to do business in Ironton a few years back and I thought I would check out Waterloo and OMG is it ever a small town. Like, it is completely isolated down there. So, it is amazing those kids beat the big boys when it seemed like they did not have much.
Here's an article on Berlin Hiland courtesy of Ohio Sports Ticket.

http://ohiosportsticket.com/i-remember-that-1992-hawks-climb-a-mountain-on-way-to-state-title/

And here's one on the Waterloo Wonders; courtesy of the Sports Illustrated Vault.

https://vault.si.com/vault/1995/02/06/the-wonder-years-from-1933-to-35-a-high-school-team-from-tiny-waterloo-laid-waste-to-ohio

For those of you with the time and the inclination, there was an excellent documentary done on the Wonders. See the link below.

 

Irish60

Well-known member
1949-50 Miller City Wildcats.
Went 29-0 and won the Class B state title, which included an 11-0 run through the tournament.
Town had about 150 people.
Home court was called "The Barn" and was heated by two pot-bellied stoves.
Sports writer Dave Hanneman of The Courier in Findlay wrote a book in 2007 called "Wildcats: The Story of Miller City's Unbeaten State Championship Team Of 1950 " about the season.
If I recall correctly from the book, the champion and runner-up at each postseason level both advanced to the next round at the time, which would help explain how the Wildcats went 11-0 in the postseason. It's been a while since I read the book, though.
Interesting side note: John Born and William Dailey officiated both Class B semifinals and the state final, while Mack Schaffer and Andy Lindsay did the same in Class A.
Here's a little more on the Wildcats' perfect season; courtesy of limaohio.com.

https://www.limaohio.com/sports/166576/bob-seggerson-miller-city-center-of-the-basketball-world
 

vamp2syd

Well-known member
2008 New Knoxville winning it all for their first championship. Town of less than 1,000 and a school of 150 ish 9-12. Unbelievable team I might add that year too.

Also 2018 Marion Local upsetting Cornerstone Christian in OT for the state championship. One of the best games I’ve ever seen.
I thought of New Knoxville first as well. Great high efficient passing team.
 

JU-ICE

Member
Quite a few Ohio schools have played in that gym.
Next year Coldwater and Celina will play there, believe they do a DH where the girls play, then the boys.

Funny note: This past hoops season a local school was heading to the game and the AD had to turn around and go back to the school to get game balls as Ohio's game balls are Rawlings, not sure what Indiana has.....

In an "almost" Hoosier type of moment (the team got together and watched Hoosiers before each tourny game) a 4-16 Coldwater team made it all they way to the State Semi's. Want to say there was even a blurb in the USA Today about it.



As for Indiana.......Being so close and all our tv stations from there we knew much more about Indiana HS hoops. They were light years ahead of Ohio in televising games, live, in the tournament. We always marveled at how they would play two games in the same day and debate which would be better to play, the first game (10 am mabye?) or the second game (1pm ish) and the winners came back at 7pm.

Watched many a game where Hillard Gates was the announcer. The good ole days.
Indiana is still very far ahead of Ohio when it comes to broadcasting HS Sports. IHSAATV.ORG shows multiple in season and tournament games for all sports online for free, throughout the school year.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Indiana is still very far ahead of Ohio when it comes to broadcasting HS Sports. IHSAATV.ORG shows multiple in season and tournament games for all sports online for free, throughout the school year.
I've gotten away from watching it but yeah, in the 80s as an Ohio resident it was ashamed we all could watch Indiana HS sports on tv.
 

Insane92

Well-known member
Indiana is still very far ahead of Ohio when it comes to broadcasting HS Sports. IHSAATV.ORG shows multiple in season and tournament games for all sports online for free, throughout the school year.
That would be awesome for the OHSAA to do but wouldn't happen unfortunately.
 
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