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Archers celebrate '58 state basketball title

Team members will be honored at Hall of Fame banquet.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 10:50 am

Usually the members of South Side's 1958 state championship basketball team meet the first Monday of the month at Richard's restaurant on U.S. 24. This time they'll drive down I-69 for something a little more elaborate.

The Archers will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their title Wednesday during the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame's annual banquet in Indianapolis.

Varsity team members included Rich Miller, Carl Stavreti, Mike McCoy, Tom Bolyard, Dan Howe, Jim Vachon, Larry Miller, Bill Meyers, Mike Simmons, Teddy Lebrecht, Ken Howe and Nick DeMetre. The coaching staff consisted of Don Reichert, Wayne Scott and Bill Geyer. Vachon died in 2006, but most of the team members are expected to attend.

Also honored Wednesday will be 2008 inductees Jim Hammel of Huntington, John Hines of South Side, Tony Miller of Garrett and former Whitko coach Bill Patrick.

The Archers won sectional and regional titles in 1956 and 1957, but they had a nearly perfect season in 1958. South Side finished 28-2 and was ranked No. 1 for most of the season. They also won the city title when four of the five Fort Wayne teams were ranked among the state's top 15.

The only games the Archers lost were 61-58 to Muncie Central in a holiday tournament and 56-53 to Michigan City in overtime.

South Side also survived three games against the second-best team in the state, Central, including a sectional semifinal contest that is considered by many the greatest game in Fort Wayne's high school basketball history. South Side rallied to win 60-56 in overtime. The game matched two hall of fame coaches, three Mr. Basketball and seven Indiana all-stars and was played before 9,418 Memorial Coliseum fans.

Springs Valley fell in the state semifinals 55-42. In the state championship game, the Archers beat Crawfordsville 63-34. The 29 points was the second-greatest margin in state finals history. McCoy had 24 points and 20 rebounds, Dan Howe had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Stavreti had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

All five starters - Miller, Stavreti, McCoy, Bolyard and Dan Howe - were named to the 10-player all-city team. McCoy was selected Mr. Basketball, and Stavreti also played for the Indiana All-Stars that summer. Miller and Howe were named to an all-star team that faced Ohio. Bolyard was Mr. Basketball in 1959 for the Ohio games.