Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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March 30, 2010

Milan basketball story lives on

On the evening of March 20, 1954, history was made as the Milan Indians defeated the Muncie Central Bearcats to win the state basketball championship.

The David vs. Goliath matching pitted the small town Milan High School, with an enrollment of 162, against the much larger Muncie Central High School, which had 1,662 students.

Persons can relive “The Milan Miracle” over and over again by visiting the Milan ’54 Museum, in the former Nichol’s Barbershop, Milan, “where some of the guys got their hair cut,” announces curator Roselyn McKittrick.

Along with her committee of seven, she has been working 24 years on the museum, which is now housed in its third location. It has artifacts and memorabilia of the now famous basketball team. “Most items have been donated .... Some are on loan or are pictures we have permission to use.”

Her goal is “to bring back the nostalgia that was with Indiana basketball .... People like this story, and it has put our town on the map.”

The team members “are such awesome examples .... (and) they have had a reunion every year for 55 years. Most have been involved in education or coaching, and two players, Gene White and Ray Craft, came back to Milan to coach.”

Player Roger Schroeder, Indianapolis, who was at the museum March 17, recalls “how well we got along together .... Some were better than others, but it was a team situation.”

The former Indianapolis Public Schools teacher still remembers the last shot during the game at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse 56 years ago. “I saw the basketball go through the net and saw three seconds (on the clock) and knew everything was going to be OK.

“Then everybody just erupted, individually and collectively .... Immediately after the game, (Indianapolis police Officer) Pat Stark escorted us around Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis .... (and) we even went the wrong way.

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