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There’s nothing better than the Union County Tournament, or so I’ve been told and have witnessed for myself over the last four years.
Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be going through each decade of the Union County basketball tournament, recapping what happened as part of some research I’m doing. Occasionally I’ll also throw in some stories that I’ve been told and take everyone down memory lane.
To do this, I needed a starting point, and for that I turned to Ricky Price. Now, everyone already knows Ricky from his time at West Union, and it was his name I was given to help get me started on this project.
It didn’t take long to get my starting point after remembering both West Union and East Union celebrated its 50 year anniversaries last school year. Ricky informed me that there were some fierce rivalries before the 1961-62 school year and spoke of the schools at Enterprise, Poolville, Pinedale, Macedonia, etc.
I’ll spare ya’ll (and myself) of going through that history and stick with the history of the tournament, involving the schools as they currently stand. With that said, my journey begins with the 1962 tournament.
I’ll start off by saying that sports coverage during this time was almost nonexistent, with the exception of football. I could probably tell you anything you want to know about the 1961 season for W.P. Daniel, because it was well covered, weekly (insert sarcastic joke about how I go all out for football coverage every season).
Despite this setback, I was able to find that Ingomar girls won the county title that year, but I came across this while looking at a story about the New Albany tournament in January 1962. Before this, there was hardly any mention of basketball besides the fact that West Union hosted a tournament in December 1961 and East Union started its season on Nov. 3, and the principal encouraged everyone to attend games that season (yes, that was really a story).
I kept digging past that point and discovered that Ingomar girls were legit that season. Their only loss came against Pope, but they defeated that same team for the north half championship and downed Tremont for the state championship in Kosciusko, finishing the season at 48-1.
But, despite learning all of this, I still had the problem of finding who won the boys’ tournament that year.
So, I kept looking, and did a little more research on East Union’s boys that year.
The Urchins won the north half championship, defeating Lambert, but that same Lambert team, only a week later, upset East Union, 52-51, to win the state championship. So, East Union, in its first year of existence, made it to the state championship. I’m willing to bet they won the UCT that year.
Looking at the player’s names, I saw Miles McDonald and made the connection that he is the father of current East Union head coach Tim McDonald. So, I’m currently working on not only that, but figuring out the rest of the 1960s. I appreciate the messages I’ve received, offering help. Trust me, I’ll be getting to all of you soon!
Keep up next week, as I’ll piece together the tournament action from the 1960’s.