Contact: John Johnson
517.332.5046 or email@example.com
EAST LANSING, Mich. – July 20 – It was called the Game of the Century, and the 1958 Class A Boys Basketball Final between Detroit Austin and Benton Harbor is still one for the ages, a game which will be featured this week as part of MHSAA.TV’s Hoops On Film Series.
From the late 1940’s to the mid 1970’s the Michigan High School Athletic Association shot portions of the action at its boys and girls basketball finals on 16mm film. The films were loaned out, primarily to the participating schools, to help them relive the moments of playing in a championship game.
While many of the old films have wandered astray over time, about 60 games still exist in the MHSAA archives. Anyone in possession of such a film is encouraged to contact John Johnson at the MHSAA Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss having the film converted to a digital format.
Some of the films only have portions of the second half and the post-game awards; some have most of the action. None of the films have sound. They range in length from 10 minutes to about an hour. A new film will be posted online each Monday through the week of August 17. DVD’s may be purchased directly from the MHSAA.TV Website – just click the Get DVD button below the player. Here’s a look at this week’s game:
Week of July 20 – Detroit Austin 71, Benton Harbor 68 – 1958 Class A Boys Final - Benton Harbor clung to a slim 49-48 lead after three periods of play, but Detroit Austin Catholic's Dave DeBusschere scored five field goals in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to lead his team to a 71-68 victory over the Tigers in Class A. DeBusschere finished with 32 points. Dominant in their respective areas of the state, the schools were favorites to meet in the finals. The game marked Benton Harbor's second straight appearance in the championships, while Austin was only in its third year as a four-year high school. Chet Walker, who finished with 25 points for the Tigers, would go on to a distinguished career with Bradley University and the Chicago Bulls. DeBusschere went on to play for the University of Detroit, the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks.
Here’s the weekly rundown of remaining the Hoops On Film games, with game recaps courtesy of MHSAA Historian Ron Pesch of Muskegon:
Week of July 27 – Marquette Pierce 68, Freesoil 61 – 1961 Class D Boys Final - After 35 years as a coach in the Upper Peninsula, Vic Hurst was rewarded with his first MHSAA title as Marquette Pierce downed a determined Freesoil squad, 68- 61, in a Class D battle of the undefeated. Dave Benson led the Warriors with 17 points, while teammates Dennis DeMerse and the Laurich brothers – Conrad and Larry – each added 15.
Week of Aug. 3 – Flint Holy Redeemer 62, Kingsley 60 – 1970 Class D Boys Final - Celebration was tinged with sadness for Flint Holy Redeemer fans in Class D. A victim of consolidation, the Flyers went out in their final season with a bang, downing Kingsley, 62-60. Bob Hooks emerged as the hero, nailing a 25-foot bucket from near the top of the key as time expired. Holy Redeemer was one of the Flint area parochial schools closed to create Flint Powers Catholic. Redeemer ended with a 22-2 mark.
Week of Aug. 10 – DeWitt 51, Carrollton 36 – 1977 Class C Girls Final - Plagued early by fouls, Saginaw Carrollton bowed to DeWitt, 51-36, in the Class C contest. DeWitt hit six free throws and jumped out to a 16-8 lead in the first quarter of play as a pair of Cavalier starters were forced to the bench with foul trouble. The Panthers never looked back. Sophomore Kelly Robinson led the winners with 21 points and 15 rebounds, including nine-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line. Freshman Laura Collison scored 11 for the Cavaliers.
Week of Aug. 17 – Lansing Sexton 80, Hamtramck 79 (OT) – 1959 Class A Boys Final - It has since become known as "The Shot." Described by "The Swami" - Detroit Free Press prep writer Hal Schram - as "a crazy heave that bounced twice on the rim before dropping through the laces," it was the "the windup to a wild finish that gave Lansing Sexton an 80-79 overtime win over Hamtramck." Many of the 12,120 fans that packed Jenison Field House for the Class A contest had left the arena early as the Cosmos opened up a 17-point lead, 43-26, at the half and controlled the contest 72-57 lead midway through the final period. However, much to everyone's amazement, Sexton notched the game's final 15 points in the last 3:15 of regulation knotting the game at 72 and sending it to overtime. "The Shot" by Sexton's Bob Davis as time ran out in extra period erased a 79-78 Hamtramck lead. The horn sounded while the shot was in the air, and according to those in attendance, the ball seemed to bounce on the rim for an eternity before finally falling in.
Week of Aug. 24 – River Rouge 65, Muskegon Heights 64 – 1972 Class B Boys Final - After 16 appearances and 11 titles by River Rouge and Greene, the Class B crown had, in the words of Detroit writer Joe Falls, “become almost their divine right each March.” Muskegon Heights had lost to Rouge in the Final one year earlier, but it appeared that the Tigers had finally turned the tables on the perennial powerhouse. Leading 64-57 with only 58 seconds remaining on the clock at Jenison Field House, this game appeared to be over. But, in perhaps the most amazing comeback in tournament history, the turnaround started with 45 seconds remaining. Ralph Perry's easy lay-up cut the Heights margin to five points. Fouled on the play, Perry missed the free throw, but teammate Byron Wilson pounded home the rebound and the Panthers trailed by three. An errant inbound pass kept the dream alive. Leighton Moulton sank a 22-foot jumper with 23 seconds remaining, and the Panthers trailed by a point, 64-63. The Tigers were called for traveling on the change of possession and Rouge had its chance. Moulton, the leading scorer in the contest, was again called upon. He drove toward the basket and was fouled before the shot. “The clock read: 0:02. If Moulton missed the first, it would have been all over,” wrote Falls, capturing the scene in characteristic clarity. “All of it rested on his lean, lithe shoulders...and the delicate touch in his finger. He stepped to the line while the crowd quieted. The pressure was immense. Moulton looked up, let it go-and swish. Now utter bedlam. Moulton broke toward the center of the court, thrusting his fist into the air. He jumped and danced and was mobbed by his teammates...He'd tied it. Rouge could do no worse than go into overtime. But now he had another chance,” continued Falls, “the chance to win it. He made the most of it by dropping in his second free throw...That's when the tears started coming out of Lofton Greene's eyes, if you can imagine that.”