Of all the great movies involving American sports, few are more ingrained in the nation's culture psyche than 'Hoosiers'. The film gave Indiana high school basketball a national profile, it romanticized how tournament basketball can lionize the little guy and set the stage for much of the popular mythology that engulfs America each March during the NCAA Tournament.
Now, rarely seen footage of the final minutes of the famous game that inspired the movie has been put online, thanks to the Indiana High School Athletic Association. As first brought to Prep Rally's attention by Jeff Eisenberg of our fabulous brotherly college basketball blog, The Dagger, the final three minutes of the 1954 state title game between Muncie (Ind.) Central High and Milan (Ind.) High was re-released by the IHSA over the past week, showing us just what Bobby Plump (or Jimmy Chitwood in 'Hoosiers' parlance) and his teammates looked like while pulling off one of the most famous upsets in American sports history.
There's no code to bring the video on to sites outside the IHSAA portal, but you can see the entire closing sequence right here.
Meanwhile, the clip you see above also includes interviews with Plump and a handful of others involved in Milan's famous 32-30 win, as well as Plump's famous shot that sealed his team's memorable win. Of course, the accomplishment which was made much more significant because of the difference in the schools' relative enrollment; Milan was home to just 162 students while Muncie Central hosted 1,662 students.
The backdrop you see in grainy black and white is Butler Fieldhouse, where the back-to-back national runners-up Butler Bulldogs still play. At the time, Indiana famously held a single state tournament, where all teams competed against each other regardless of size.
That's no longer the case, though some have called for a return to a single bracket format to re-inspire much of the drama that came with potential upsets like the one pulled off by Milan (or Louisville Collegiate in the 2011 Kentucky state tournament).
Still, even if Indiana did return to a single bracket, it seems far fetched to think that a David defeating Goliath game would come along again anytime soon. That's what makes Milan's win so special, and what makes this footage all the more inspiring to look back on.