Basketball to return to historic Tyson
RIPLEY COUNTY BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME
It has been 13 years since the former mecca of Southeastern Indiana hoops hosted a high school basketball game but Tyson Auditorium is once again set to open its doors to fans of all ages tomorrow for a much-anticipated tournament with some familiar local ties.
While the building is now known to the community as the Tyson Activity Center, the nostalgic sound of leather bouncing on deadwood floor, fans filing onto the handcrafted bleachers and the memories of hundreds of high school basketball games played there will harken back to life Tyson Auditorium for the inaugural Ol’ Coach Classic Boys JV Basketball Tournament on Friday. The four-team tournament features South Ripley, Milan, Hauser and Edgewood and is named for the late William “Gus” Moorhead, a 1980 inductee of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and an inductee of both the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame and the Hanover College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Moorhead, a graduate of Madison, coached the Versailles Lions for 15 years before heading up South Ripley’s consolidation and coaching the Raiders their first two seasons alongside serving as a long-time administrator in the school system. The Ol’ Coach finished with a 253-117 coaching record which included four-straight sectional titles, five county crowns and six Ohio River Valley Conference championships. Moorhead passed away on December 21, 2008.
And how fitting it will be on Friday to see the junior varsity tournament feature a Moorhead in every corner, two as administrators and two as coaches. South Ripley will be represented by its superintendent Rob Moorhead, Gus’s son, while daughter Jane (Moorhead) Rogers, represents Milan where she serves as superintendent.
Two of the Ol’ Coach’s grandsons will have a shot to win the tournament. Brad Moorhead, a graduate of South Dearborn, is the junior varsity head coach at Edgewood while Trent Moorhead, a graduate of South Ripley, is the junior varsity head coach at Hauser. Trent and his Jets face Milan in a 9 a.m. opening round game while Brad and his Mustangs follow against South Ripley at 10:30 a.m.
The consolation game of the tournament is slated for noon while the championship contest serves as the finale at 1:30 p.m.
Tournament and school officials are hoping that the tournament will be a mainstay at Tyson while hope also lies that perhaps the gym can host a varsity game or two within the next couple of years. For now, Friday serves as a chance to step back in time and enjoy what used to be home away from home for several area basketball junkies.
The last high school basketball game played at Tyson was February 22, 2008 as part of the gym’s farewell tour so to speak. South Ripley defeated Jac-Cen-Del 52-47 that night.