Welcome Valley Grads and Friends of the Akron / Mentone Communities

Two thirds of 8000 alumni of Tippecanoe Valley -- and the schools that created it -- no longer live in the school district. This blog is intended to keep us all connected, to news of our hometowns and of each other.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

35 years ago this weekend ...

Thirty-five years ago this weekend, we had a blizzard.

Valley also hosted the first-ever sectional in the first-ever girls' basketball state tournament. We had a pretty good team (13-5?) but had to open against Warsaw, the undefeated number one team in the state.

The whole tournament got pushed back a couple of days, moving the semifinals to Saturday night; and as another storm rolled in, a lot of people (including some of our own players, and me, who had to be pulled out of a snowdrift on 800 South by Jackie Brown's dad) had trouble getting to the school.

Coach Joyce Harmon called a time-out less than a minute into the game in order to insert regular starting point guard Sharlene Bose -- who arrived via snowmobile a few seconds after tip-off -- into the game, in order to orchestrate the slow-down game plan that was our key to matching up with the bigger and (frankly) more talented undefeated Tigers.

And Sharlene did it masterfully. Our star sophomore and future Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Cathy Welch played Miss Basketball Judi Warren to a draw. Dee Wirick matched Warsaw's towering front line, including future Miss Basketball Chanda Kline, rebound for rebound. We held on to a slim lead until early in the fourth quarter. Warsaw finally got ahead by a couple of baskets, forced us out of the zone and the stall, and pulled away by forcing us to foul in the closing minute.

Warsaw went on to complete an undefeated season and win the first girls' state championship. Valley provided them as tough a challenge as they received the whole way. I've since learned to be proud of a team in a loss, but this was my first experience at it, and I still feel that way.

It's fun to remember the victories, but what was the proudest you've ever been of a losing effort?


  1. The snowmobile is a great touch. I can see Sharlene throwing off her snow suit and helmet and hitting the floor. Great post.

  2. Ron,

    I remember that game very well. Valley had some great battles in the sectional with two state champions and a semi-state finalist in the first three years of the state tournament. I would say that Valley had one of the best teams in the whole state those three years but had the misfortune to be in the same sectional with the best team in the state two of those years and maybe the second best team in the state the other year. Joyce and those young women began a very good tradition of excellent girl's basketball at Valley.