Column: Best of All Time omissions raise questions

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

I’m not going to pretend to be an authority on the history of Dubois County basketball, given that I’ve only been here for five months.

However, in the short time that I’ve worked at The Herald, I’ve picked up on some things here and there about the teams of yesteryear. Upon hearing The Herald was doing a bracket of the greatest teams in county history, numerous teams started circling around in my mind. You have your no-brainers with the 1949 Jasper state championship team, the 1977 Northeast Dubois team and the Forest Park teams that won back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006. All of those teams are on this list of the top 16. They had to be.

Good teams being left off of this list was going to be an inevitability. Do not misconstrue this as an effort to tear down the achievements of the teams that made it. That’s not at all the case. However, some of these omissions are hard to justify given their credentials.

Jasper has only gone to state twice in school history, with the state championship season of 1949 being the most recent time. The first time was in 1934. You would think, certainly, a team that went to state would automatically have billing as one of the greatest teams in county history.

Not according to the online voting results.

A team that went to state not making the list is a shame in and of itself, but that’s not the only team in Jasper history that got snubbed in the voting. How is it that none of the Jasper teams that won five straight sectional championships between 1971 and 1975 made this list?

Those 1972 and 1973 Jasper teams went to semistate. Slick Webber is a Jasper basketball legend due to his clutch play against Loogootee in the 1972 regional championship. The 1973 team not only made it back there the next year, but got there following a memorable winning shot from Tom Berger in the 1973 sectional championship against Southridge.

That’s not to say any of the 1934, 1972 or 1973 Jasper teams are the greatest in Dubois County history, or even the greatest in Jasper history, but you’d have thought at least two of those teams should have made the bracket.

It also begs the question of what the criteria was in the voting. If you base it off of success, the aforementioned teams qualify. Four teams from Northeast Dubois made it. The 2000 Jeeps team, the most recent to go to semistate, wasn’t one of the four, but the 2014 team that lost in the regional championship was.

What exactly makes one team historically better than the other, anyway? Is it talent? Regular-season records? Postseason success? There are no simple answers. It’s so hard to win one sectional, let alone five in a row, but great teams fall without being the last sectional team standing. The 1970 Jasper team comes to mind, and so does the 2004-05 Southridge girls team that was undefeated until losing to Forest Park in the sectional championship.

Another thing to hypothesize when looking at the results is criteria. The Herald has more circulation among older generations. Those generations might not have access to the internet by a computer or smartphone. Younger generations may simply not be aware of a team like the 1934 Jasper squad, or any of those teams from the 1970s. That might also explain how the 1949 Jasper team, the only one from Dubois County to win a state championship prior to class basketball, got the ninth most votes.

Perhaps you, as a reader, a voter, might know something that I don’t, and if you do, that’s fine. Input is welcome since it’s hard to decipher the logic behind all of this.

That doesn’t change, though, that this is a fun experiment, and an educational one, too. It’s really neat to sift through all of The Herald’s archives and learn about the past triumphs of these legendary teams. Hopefully you will have as much fun in the coming weeks as the bracket tipped off this week.

Let the debating begin.

 




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