When you think of high school basketball, you think Indiana. The Indiana state basketball tournament was the epitome of Indiana before they destroyed the tournament with class basketball. Everybody had a shot at winning it all. In 1954 the Milan Indians won a tournament with over 700 teams in it; the Indians’ accomplishment was so great that the movie Hoosiers was loosely based on that 1954 team led by Bobby Plump. In this list, we will try to give you the greatest shooters in Indiana high school basketball history. We will miss some because it’s an almost impossible list to compile.
Johnson, from the small school in Aurora, Indiana, came very close to leading that small school to the 1977 Final Four. He put on one of the great shooting displays in semi-state history as he hit a baseline jumper at the end of overtime to give the Red Devils a colossal upset over the Lawrence Central Bearcats led by future Indiana Hoosier Steve Risley. Aurora would lose to the Columbus East Olympians in the championship game later that night as Johnson was hobbled by a leg injury that limited his effectiveness. Without that injury, Johnson may have led the small school Red Devils all the way to the promised land. Johnson would graduate in 1978 from Aurora and go on to play at Middle Tennessee State.
In his senior season, Dunham averaged 29.5 points per game and shot 92.1% from the free-throw line, leading the state of Indiana in both categories. He scored 45 points against Alexandria High School. Dunham was named Madison County Player of the Year as a senior after helping Pendleton Heights to a 23–3 record. Dunham was twice named All-State. Dunham finished third in Indiana Mr Basketball voting behind Gary Harris and Yogi Ferrell. He was named Herald Bulletin Player of the Year as a senior. He holds the record for the all-time leading scorer at Pendleton Heights with 1,899 points, leading the Arabians to back-to-back sectional titles. Sam Alford claimed Dunham may have been the greatest high school shooter he ever saw.
Conley was the son of Mike Conley, an Olympic long jumper. Conley played on three consecutive state championship teams at Lawrence North. Conley teamed up with Greg Oden to create one of Indiana’s most powerful high school teams. Conley was a part of the Wildcats’ final 45-game win streak, and they lost only two games in Conley’s last two seasons. He had 1,157 career points, a school record of 449 assists, and 290 steals. He was a Buckeyes player for one year and helped lead them to the national championship against Florida.
Dick and his brother Tom grew up in basketball-loving families and were avid players. The 1953 NCAA championships was the moment they fell in love with Indiana. They watched Indiana beat Kansas.
Adolph Rupp saw the Van Arsdale brothers’ development and couldn’t convince them to choose Kentucky over Indiana.
They were very similar and inseparable. They were so identical that they shared the 1961 Indiana Mr Basketball award. After losing the state title to Kokomo, they also shared the Trester Award in Mental Attitude.
Moore was a miniature dynamo on the floor, and in the 1978 IHSAA final four, he put on a show, scoring 34 in the afternoon semi-final and 27 in the Bearcats’ overtime win against Terre Haute South. Moore was a relentless force for coach Bill Harrell’s Bearcats. He was an excellent player at Nebraska but sadly died too soon at 24 because of a tragic plane crash.
Colescott led Marion to two state championships in 1975 and 1976. He finished his three-year varsity season with 1,529 points, a 20.1 average. In those three seasons, the Giants went 64-17, with 28-1 in their junior year. Colescott was awarded Mr Basketball in Indiana in his senior year. He also won the Trester Award. This made him one of three players to win the Trester Award and the state title in Indiana history. He played four years in North Carolina, but injuries marred his college career. In 2002, he was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Despite not playing with any future Division I players, Damon Bailey led Bedford North Lawrence to three final fours in four years. He won it all in 1990. His senior year saw him break the state scoring record with 3,134 points. He was awarded Mr Basketball and was named National Player of the year by several media outlets. Bailey was fifth on Indiana University’s all-time scoring list, finishing with 1,741 points. He also finished first with 380 3-pointers. The Indiana Pacers drafted Bailey, but he did not play in the NBA.
He won tiny Plymouth an unlikely state title by launching a 22-foot shot at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime. Skiles scored 39 points to win in overtime. Plymouth won the game in Plymouth. He scored 29.2 points per match and 1,788 career points, leading the state in senior year scoring. After his stellar career at Michigan State, he was the National Player-of-the Year. He then enjoyed a long NBA career.
Bird’s high school career seems to get lost in the shuffle due to the legend he grew to be in college and later the NBA, but make no mistake, Bird was a legendary high school player. He averaged 31 points and 21 rebounds per game during his senior season at Springs Valley. It gets overlooked because Larry never got his team past the regional round.
Edwards matched Fuzzy Vandivier’s feat in which he won three consecutive state titles. Edwards also did it when he led Marion to the 1985-87 state championships. Edwards, a swingman at 6-4, had a career total of 1,860 points for a 19.0 average. He was a varsity player for the Giants and posted an 85-4 record. Lyndon Jones also shared Mr Basketball honors. Edwards had a brilliant two-year stint at Indiana before he entered the NBA draft. The Los Angeles Clippers selected him, but he was cut in his second season. He was a member of the CBA for 12 years and played overseas.
Pavy was the runner-up for Mr Basketball in 1959 to Jimmy Rayl, and the two of them put on one of the most incredible shooting displays in the history of Hoosier Hysteria in the famously called “Church street shootout game”. Pavy scored an amazing 51 points, while Rayl scored 49. The combined 100-point game did not have a three-point line either. Pavy would go on to play at Indiana where a tragic automobile accident would leave him paralyzed and end his promising career.
All-time single-game and career scoring leader for New Castle Chrysler High School, Alford scored 57 points in 1983 semi-state, 2,116 career points… Two years All-State, three years All-NCC, 1983 Mr. Basketball… played for his father, HOF coach Sam Alford. Just imagine if a three-point line had existed for Alford. He was great in the clutch and as automatic as anyone who lived at the free-throw line.
Jimmy Rayl embodied Hoosier Hysteria as well as anyone. For him, basketball was far more than a game to be played. It was a genuine passion; you could tell it whenever you saw him on the court. His range was unprecedented, and the arc on his shot seemed to almost touch the rafters before falling through the net. The rivalry between Rayl and Ray Pavy was as good as any in the Indiana high school basketball annals.
He was 1959’s Indiana Mr. Basketball and the recipient of the Trester Award for the state of Indiana his senior year. Over three seasons, he recorded 1,632 points as a Kokomo Wildcat and 1,401 career points with the Indiana University Hoosiers. Rayl twice scored an IU school record of 56 points in a game, a feat that still is untouched.
Mount was the first-ever high school basketball player featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. He would later lead the Purdue Boilermakers to the NCAA title game before losing to UCLA. Mount led his Lebanon Tigers in scoring, including 33.1 ppg throughout his junior and senior seasons.
His skill attracts national attention. In 1965, Lebanon played Crawfordsville High School at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. With more than 10,000 people in attendance, he scored 57 points in the game. At the end of his senior year, he won Indiana “Mr Basketball” award and was named “USA Basketball Yearbook Player of the Year,” given to the nation’s best high school player. He finished his Lebanon career with 2,595 points, currently the sixth-highest total in Indiana high school history. Mount is unquestionably the greatest shooter that Hoosier Hysteria has ever seen.
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