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MT. PLEASANT HIGH SCHOOL BASKET BALL TEAM STATE CHAMPIONS.
When Mt. Pleasant's high school basket ball team went to the tournament at Fairfield and won the south-eastern Iowa basket ball championship, everybody was tickled over the victory. The event was duly celebrated, but when they went to Ames and came back with the state championship Saturday night or early Sunday morning, the Sabbath was punctured full of holes by the shouts of the loyal Mt. Pleasant folks who staid up for the late train.
The train got in about 2:30 Sunday morning. Nearly a thousand people were at the station to meet the team. The weather was very chilly, or it is thought that everybody in town would have been at the station. But loyal as everyone felt towards the boys, the cold night and the late hour dampened the ardor of many and they went to bed. However, as we said before, a vast crowd met the returning victors and they were brought down town and then taken to the college chapel, where at three a.m. speeches were made by some of the players and there was a general jollification meeting. Members of the school board and some of the preachers were present to welcome the boys.
The chairman of the meeting was Harry Leedham, principal of the high school. Floyd Duncan made a good talk. He went to Ames out of loyalty to his home town and helped to put the finishing touches on the team. They said he did wonderfully good work and the boys are also very loud in their praise of Dr. Clyde Williams, the physical director at Ames college. He is a school mate of Dr. G.P. McKibbin and Stanley Miller of this town, and naturally they will take means to express their appreciation to Dr. Williams for his kindly treatment of the Mt. Pleasant lads.
The celebration Saturday night seemed more like a Fourth of July celebration than anything else. There was red fire and thousands of fire crackers and torpedoes were exploded. Also many men had guns which were fired and sounded like cannon. Anything that would make a noise was pressed into service.
The chairman called upon Karl Karlstrom, the coach, first, who told them how they won, and he was followed by C.S. Rogers, J.C. McCoid, members of the board, Supt. C.W. Cruikshank, Captain Milo Harshbarger of the team, Warren Rogers, Reece Green of the team, who the fans say, is the best player in the state, and the mascot, who is mentioned elsewhere.
Clay Weir acted as yell master of the evening.
The bon fire at the college campus was as big as a house, and any boxes in town which were overlooked must have been nailed down or in cellars.
Here are the boys who brought fame to Mt. Pleasant: Don and Milo Harshbarger, Reece Green, Leonard Stromberg and Gordon Thomas. They played the winning games. The other players on the team who accompanied them to Ames were Angus Moore, Byron Talbott, Miles Rukgarber [Rukgaber]. They were on the job every minute and would have stepped into the game at any time needed, so they deserve their share of praise just as much as the ones who were in actual play. The mascot of the team who had the rabbit's foot with him clear through the series, was little John Harshbarger. He was called on for a speech and he responded. He said that he wanted to thank the people who paid his way to Ames, as he had seen many wonderful things. When it came to the game he said, "I missed the first two baskets, but I made the last one and that was the one that counted." And that was the truth and summed it up. The Mt. Pleasant boys rallied in the last half and snatched victory from defeat in the last five minutes of play. That is why little John remembered the last basket. As we said last week, much of the glory will have to be given to Prof. Karl Karlstrom. He ruled the team with an iron hand, and yet every boy on the team would go through fire for him. Early in the season one of the boys thought he would like to smoke. Karlstrom got next to it, and he promptly removed the offender from the team. After two weeks of penance, the boy was let back on, but there was no more smoking on the team. Anyway, that is one of the stories told of Karlstrom's success in handling his boys in the manual training department. There is absolutely no horseplay.
These Mt. Pleasant people accompanied the team to Ames: Warren Rogers of the News went as an official reporter for the News and was on the firing line all the time, Ellis Tovers, Clay Weir, Stewart Craig and Glenn Doughty went as boosters for the team.
Account of the game in Sunday's Register: The dopesters were misinformed. Mt. Pleasant won from Iowa City in the final game of the state high school championship basket ball tournament. The score was 28 to 22. The first half ended 17 to 12 in favor of Iowa City.
The championship five, picked before the game as a loser, under a big Iowa City score, possessing such a splendid forward as Reece Green deserved to win, though the southeastern team by no means had the game sewed up prior to the final few minutes.
It was the lad Green and his forward mate, Captain Harshbarger, who outscored Captain Darner, Kloos, Watters and Donvalinka of the Iowa City five.
Green was the consistent star man of the tourney and little noticed in the preliminaries. He emerged from the final a star of the first magnitude in the whole tournament. Green, it should be said, won the championship. What he didn't actually do himself, he inspired his team mates to do.
Iowa City played a fast, fine passing, never-quit game, but seemed to get slightly rattled at the last, shooting at baskets rather at random. Both teams were fagged out during the latter part of the last half, neither making any substitutions.
The first half closed with Iowa City leading with a 17 to 12 score. The "Little Hawkeyes" had the lead throughout the first half and held it till the last period was there-fourths gone, when Captain Harshbarger, his brother, and Green, took a 19 to 19 tie and built up by sheer clever basket ball to 28 to 22.
D. Harshbarger's mediocre luck with free throws saved Iowa City from a more decisive defeat.
Marshalltown high won third place in the tournament by defeating Indianola 16 to 12, in the consolation contest, which preceded the championship game Saturday afternoon. It was a close game, the Indianola quintet having a 10 to 8 advantage at the rest period.
Mt. Pleasant reached the final game by defeating Marshalltown in the first of the semifinal games Saturday morning, 9 to 5. The victorious five outplayed its opponents due largely to the work of Green, a little forward, who set too fast and clever a race for Marshalltown. Both teams played in hard luck at hitting the rings and only four baskets were made. The first half ended in a 3 to 3 tie.
Iowa City defeated Indianola in the other semifinal game 28 to 10. The victory was gained largely through seven baskets by Kloos, the record individual performance of the tournament. It was an easy victory for the "Little Hawkeyes," who played with the skill of a college five and were far too fast for Indianola. The entire Iowa City five played cleverly. Graves, Indianola forward, showed spurts, but his mates seldom helped him.
The school board paid the expenses of the basket ball team to Ames, where they went to participate in the state contest.
["Free Press" Mount Pleasant, Iowa, March 22, 1917]
Transcribed and contributed by Pat White, March 11, 2017.
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