Indiana Basketball History Magazine - Fall 2016
Breakthrough: The 1957 Noblesville Millers' State Basketball Tournament Adventure
Noblesville in the 1950’s was, and remains, the county seat of Hamilton County, the county located due north of Marion County, with its large capital city of Indianapolis. It was small in population (approximately 7000), Protestant, Republican, conservative, overwhelmingly White, quietly segregated, and enjoyed a comfortable prosperity anchored by the largest employer, a Firestone Tire and Rubber company plant. Surrounding farms grew the major crops of corn, soybeans and hay, and much of the town’s small businesses supported the farming industry, which included a huge grain elevator in the south end. (My father owned a steel farm building distributorship--corn cribs, dryers, quonset huts, silos). The Noblesville public school system consisted of three grade (or elementary) schools (First Ward; Third Ward; Federal Hill), a junior high (Second Ward) and a single high school. Graduating classes numbered typically in the 80’s to 90’s.
Noblesville was mostly known for its outstanding football teams in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Its basketball teams were regarded as mediocre at best, having never had a winning season since World War II, and never having won even a Sectional tournament since 1929. High School basketball games were played in the National Guard armory, a drab, limited- capacity arena just off the County Courthouse Square on Logan Street, across the railroad tracks that ran alongside the west side of the square. In 1955, a new high school opened, with a “mammoth” new gymnasium seating over 3200. The gym saw its first game played on January 6, 1956 against long-time rival Tipton High School. Noblesville lost, 65-45, committing a not-unusual 35 turnovers.
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