Basketball Teams Travel to Famous Hoosier Gym

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Hoosier Gym

The Hoosier Gym was the set for the famous 19866 film "Hoosiers," directed by David Anspaugh.

By Ben Hughes, Marquette High School

Boys and girls varsity basketball will travel to Knighston, Ind., this weekend to match up against the Lindbergh Flyers in the famous gym from the 1986 movie “Hoosiers.”

“Hoosiers” follows the story of a dysfunctional basketball team of a small Indiana town that comes together and overcomes all odds to win the State championship. Although the Hickory team and people in the movie are fictional, they’re based on the 1954 Indiana State Champion Milan High School basketball team.

“Hoosiers” was filmed at Hoosier Gym, but the Milan High School basketball team never played at the gym. High school teams from around the country frequently play at Hoosier Gym for a fee from anywhere of fifty to 650 dollars.

Freshman point guard, Taryn Blevins, said she’s looking forward to the experience of traveling to one of the most famous gyms in the world.

“It’s a really cool experience because so few people get the chance to do it,” Blevins said. “We’re just gonna want to go out and do our best to make it a memorable experience for the program as a whole.”

Although Blevins is excited to experience the historical aspect of the gym, she said the features of the court are slightly different from a modern gym which could have an impact on the game.

The court has no half-court line, and the three point line is extremely faint because the line didn’t exist in the time period the film was supposed to take place in.

Blevins also said the court has a smaller length and width which could have the biggest effect on the game.

“I expect it to be an intense game because the court will be smaller, so I hope our full-court pressure will be more effective,” Blevins said.

Despite the smaller court and differences in some of the lines, Blevins said the team must maintain their composure to win the game.

Junior Brenden Harter, the boys leading scorer, said “Hoosiers” helped inspire him to play basketball.

“It’s exciting to get to go somewhere that I have dreamed of playing my whole life,” Harter said.

The Stangs are one of the first teams in St. Louis to take advantage of the special experience with other schools in the area planning to make the trip in the future.

Sometimes tournaments are played at the gym, other times just individual games such as the MHS vs. Lindbergh game which only has significance towards both teams’ records.

“We are definitely scrappy like they [the team from “Hoosiers”] were,” Harter said. “We aren’t afraid to get in some faces and do what it takes to win.”

Eric Schweain, varsity boys basketball coach, said he hopes the trip is an unforgettable moment in the player’s basketball careers.

“This is something we have never done, it’s a once in a lifetime experience,” Schweain said.

Schweain said he also hopes the game and other aspects of the trip will help build team camaraderie.

“This is about more than wins and losses,” Schweain said, “These players will talk about it 20 and 50 years from now.”

This story was originally published on Marquette Messenger on January 31, 2020.