Which Ladoga Canner played in more varsity basketball games than any other hoopster? Yes, it was Bill Boone, who graduated in 1956 and played in 78 games during his four years of high school. Bill also finished third in scoring for Ladoga with 786 points, just behind Mel Todd with 823 points and Paul Roahrig with 791 points. People often forget how great those Ladoga teams were in the mid-1950s, but during the four years that Bill played for Coach Jack Hester, the Canners compiled a regular season record of 57 wins against just 19 losses . . . and this was against some very good teams in Montgomery county. Bill told me that Coach Hester emphasized the fundamentals and repetition during his practices, and his teams were very balanced in talent and scoring.
The Canners came close to winning the Sectional and County tourneys during Bill's senior year, losing to an outstanding and undefeated New Ross team both times, with Bill and teammate Mel Todd both finishing in the top 10 in the county in scoring averages. Bill received the award from the Ladoga Lions club as the most outstanding senior athlete, after also excelling in track and baseball. One interesting note is that when Bill was a freshman, he was the catcher for his older brother, Dan, who pitched for the Canners.
After graduation, Bill headed to Wabash College, where he played baseball and basketball for the Little Giants. One contest that he will never forget was the Wabash vs. Butler basketball game, which lasted FIVE overtimes. There were five Montgomery county boys on those two teams...Dick Haslam (Crawfordsville) and Dick Haffner (New Ross) on the Butler team . . . and Charlie Bowerman (Alamo), Rusty Nichols (New Ross), and Bill . . . on the Wabash team. Bill said that Charlie Bowerman "played every step of the way" and scored an amazing 53 points, and Rusty Nichols made the winning basket, with the final score 110 to 108. My Dad took me to that game, which I have always considered the most exciting game to ever have been played in Montgomery County.
When asked about funny incidents that occurred when he was playing, Bill recalled the time that Ladoga played Crispus Attucks. Ladoga got to play against the great Oscar Robertson and Hallie Bryant. Bill was guarded by their center, Sheddrick Mitchell, and after Bill made a basket against him and they were headed back down the floor, Sheddrick told Bill, "Little white boy, you ain't gonna do that no more!" He was right . . . Bill didn't make any more baskets!
When Bill was growing up, he admired the great Mickey Mantle of the Yankees and all of the older players for Ladoga . . . like Mort Kimmel, Red Hart, Wally Lewellyn, Everett Foster and Fred Brennan . . . just to name a few. Bill stated that what he remembers most is "the people I played with and against. I treasure the friendships that I made on the field and court. I played against Dick Haffner, Bill Greve, Bernie Burk and Charlie Bowerman, and I still consider them good friends . . . and I was honored to play ball with Charlie at Wabash."
After graduating from Wabash, Bill taught high school and coached football, basketball, and baseball at Covington, Fountain Central and Crawfordsville a total of 41 years. He is now retired and lives here in Crawfordsville, but stays quite active. Well, Bill, thanks for all you have done . . . and thanks for the memories from a good ol' Ladoga Canner!

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history. He writes a general column that appears in The Paper on Fridays and a local sports column on Tuesdays.