BUTLER, Ind. (WANE) When most people think of Indiana, basketball is one of the first things that comes to mind. This state is rich with basketball history, and Tuesday night in Butler, Indiana high school basketball history came alive.
The Eastside Blazers faced off against the Woodland Warriors at Eastside’s old gym in their fourth ever “throwback game” to a sellout crowd.
This gym was built in 1936 but hasn’t been used regularly since 1971. From the old, solid wood bleachers, crowds standing in ‘yell-sections’, Cokes in bottles, the wonderful smell of popcorn filling the air, the closeness of the crowd to the game, these throwback games were made to bring back the great memories and feelings of historic Indiana basketball.
“My excitement realms from watching the movie Hoosiers and wanting to be a basketball player and a coach,” Eastside High School basketball head coach Ryan Abbott said. “I think our community can thrive around that as well. We’re celebrating how special Indiana basketball is in our state.”
“Even outside our community, there’s a lot of people that have played in the gym,” Eastside High School athletic director Aaron Willard said. “They’re coming back and will remember all their memories from high school.”
This is only the fourth throwback game Eastside has hosted, and it’s the first one since 1997. They hosted other throwback games in 1987 and 1990.
“Just walking in the 80 year old gym gave me goosebumps,” 1970s Eastside basketball player David Cooper said. “It just brings back so many memories. Playing in here, the pep sessions, it was just remarkable.”
“We’ll be surrounded by previous players, coaches and community members who grew up watching games here,” Aabott said. “Hopefully the coaching staff and players will take a minute to recognize them and take in what a special environment we will have here tonight.”