Goshen News, Goshen, IN


March 14, 2008

Gary Yoder led 1973 champs

The phenomenon of Westview High School basketball is now 42 years old.

But, the roots of the Warriors go back much further than that — when it was Topeka, Shipshewana and Scott high schools. The Bears, Indians and Scotties blazed the trail.

Shipshewana won a sectional at Kendallville in 1944 with victories over Cromwell 35-22, Topeka 47-32, Avilla 35-26 and Wolf Lake 41-28.

With an enrollment of 89 students, Shipshewana was the third-smallest among 64 sectional winners in 1944.

The Indians lost a regional game to Warsaw, 36-34, at Fort Wayne North Side’s gym to finish the season with a 19-5 record.

Shipshewana starters 64 years ago were Gary Nelson, Frank Baker, Stan Nelson, Max Oesch and freshman Paul Prough. Keith Davis was head coach.

Scott played in a rotating sectional at Elkhart, Nappanee and Goshen from 1951 to 1955 while Topeka and Shipshewana-Scott were at spacious North Side Gym in Elkhart from 1956 to 1964.

Topeka Bears mentioned on Goshen News all-sectional teams included LeRoy Lambright, Les Bender, Rich Lambright and Barry Oesch.

Shipshewana-Scott players on The News’ honor squads included Jim Balyeat, Ernie Easterday, Terry Hite, Loren Skinner, Walt Miller, Steve Bowen, Bob Domer, Ron Hooley, Roger Yoder, Willard Troyer and Dennis Weirich.

The last Shipshewana-Scott team in 1965-66 included seniors Ken Miller, Steve Troyer, Mike Mishler, Tim Grove and John Hasbrough; juniors Dave Hostetler, Steve Wolfe, Jim Hostetler, Glen Eash and Joe Glick; sophomores Byron Hooley and Jack Nelson. Robert Wechter was head coach, assisted by Bob Fields.

Topeka’s farewell squad 42 years ago featured seniors Ken Bontrager, Pat Frain, Eugene Schlabach and Bob Yoder; juniors Robin Bacon, David Fought and Larry Schlabach; sophomores Gerald Lambright and Tim Oesch; and freshman Vernon Lambright. Don Spoerner was head coach, assisted by Dick Reed.

Topeka enjoyed three straight winning seasons near its conclusion after not having one for 19 years.

The Westview Warriors played their first game in November of 1966, even though the new $1.2 million school near Emma had yet to be completed. Enrollment was 226 and home games that first winter were played at Shipshewana.

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There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

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