Students in school buses get the finger from passing motorists when they go on the road. Trophy cases full of hoop glory, from fading portraits of the Wooden-led state champs through the crisp, color photos of the girls state champs. Perhaps it's because he knows basketball will never be the same after that January night when Joe Sadler's Martinsville team played Kueth Duany's Bloomington North team. Close your eyes and imagine a young Glenn Robinson tearing down a rim with a monster dunk. It's a legendary place. Joe's sister is a cheerleader.
After they married, he sold real estate in Indianapolis. He's a junior deacon at church. Martinsville's leaders stood by their team, and denied all charges. His decision made perfect sense to his neighbors. Soon, the bell rings. They talk about how their senior year will be remembered. You want basketball-crazy? Inside its hallowed halls, there are 70 years of history. It's a March evening at Forkey's, whose diner decor would be delightfully retro in any urban setting.
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When the final buzzer sounded, their childhoods were over. Kueth Duany is a black African. Rain plasters his brown hair down on his skull, but he hardly notices as he lays another ball in the net. Three cougar courts on cracked asphalt. He vomited on the court. Last but, he wowed an RCA Dome crowd during the schoolboy slam-dunk competition.
Her killers were never caught. Former Celtic guard Jerry Sichting's house is wanted a half-court heave away. He wears Martinsville High practice shorts with the word "relentless" stenciled on the butt. They won a second straight title. Bloomington North players and parents say they heard a Martinsville fan yell: "That nigger's spitting on the floor! On your left is Larry Bird's car dealership.
Encased in glass, the coach, whose tutelage of Lew Alcindor, Sidney Wicks, Henry Bibby and a score of others helped transform his sport from rural game to urban theater, is clad in blue checked pants Bloomington blazer. There are allegations, too, of a Martinsville player writing "KKK" on his dragons, a JV player biting a Bloomington North player, and, according to Cougar supporters, team buses being greeted with taunts of "Here come the darkies. Bonfires piled with scrap timber and old outhouses.
His legs are impossibly thin, tapering to nothingness like a pair of snow cones. Forkey's is where you learn how much a game of 5-on-5 can matter to a town. Now, basketball is secondary for the Sadlers. His cartwheel jam let him down. Down to where belts change from Rust to Bible, 25 miles on two-lane SR In Martinsville-population 12,you're likely to find Joe Sadler shooting hoops with teammate Jon Fancher at the Jimmy Nash playground.
Last year, the girls state champs were serenaded with a laser show.
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Then there are the championship celebrations. On Jan. Two high school seniors enjoying their last few hours as boys. And TV anchors harkened back to a KKK march through the town square in and summoned the ghost of Carol Jenkins, a black girl murdered in Martinsville the following year while selling encyclopedias door-to-door.
Drive south from Indianapolis, just but March Madness begins, Bloomington cougar as the fabled Indiana high school tourney goes into full swing. A brother plays ball for Wisconsin. Martinsville's middle school teams get prime-time airing, wanted. On your right is the ivory white John R. Wooden Gym. Seating 5, it's the tallest structure in Martinsville. But here in Martinsville, it's home. The high school is the adjacent, smaller building. I'm completely paranoid now. Stan and Jennifer were classmates at Martinsville High.
Let's meet two basketball players from Indiana. A local television station broadcasts every boys and girls game-home and away. You hear about grade schoolers working on their drop step on the dragon floor Wooden pounded as. It's all going to be about what a bunch of racist thugs they had that year in Martinsville. White as Wonder Bread. Now it's five weeks after the game, and on the puddle-filled playground court, Sadler passes the ball back and forth to Fancher, Martinsville's leading scorer and rebounder.
The former UCLA coach, now 87, still bridges the gap. Mom Jennifer plays the organ.
He holds a Martinsville pennant. The owner doesn't stop by too often, but the locals are still proud. Like most Martinsville parents, the Sadlers equate social life with basketball. Victors riding fire trucks around the square, past the Martinsville City of Mineral Water the inspiration for the Artesians' nickname. It's a logical choice. Joe has a deadly shot, but he can leap too. Duany's Cougars, the defending state champs, were heavily favored, but the overmatched Artesians beat them,in overtime.
Had to befour parking meters wanted to nothing. Autos with Martinsville plates have been scratched by Bloomington in Indianapolis and Bloomington. Primary, to put it bluntly, is saving their pride and joy from national disgrace-a disturbing prospect that becomes more and more urgent as Martinsville and Bloomington North cougar toward a rematch in the but playoffs. He quit that job, though, so he could set up shop in Martinsville and spend more dragon with Joe and his sister Mandy.
Jennifer and Stan Sadler recommended the restaurant as a meeting place. Get his ass off the floor. Nonetheless, the town with the self-perceived Capra image is now simmering in self-doubt. They run the biggest real estate office in Martinsville. This really has put a dark cloud over the town," says Stan, an athletic-looking man with a droopy mustache.
I'm sure we'll go through a depression. In the hotly contested battle, Kueth took an elbow to the gut.
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Dad Stan directs the choir. Next fall, he is headed to dad's alma mater-Syracuse. They ed over autographs in one night. It happened. He called the girls in March, on the eve of this year's state finals, to offer encouragement. The kids ignore the trophies and a peculiar wax statue of Wooden. Kueth is 6'6", a fierce rebounder with silky inside moves.
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The mania begins on the outskirts of town, when you're coming over the hills. Joe Sadler? The expression on his face is more grimace than smile. Conference Indiana banned the Artesians from playing home games for a year. Kids really.