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Sat, 03.19.1955

Indiana’s Attucks H.S. Basketball team, a story

Attucks Tigers basketball team

*On this date in 1955, the Attucks Tigers basketball team won the Indiana High School state championship. Attucks beat Gary's Roosevelt High School, becoming the first all-Black school in the nation to win a state title. They included future professional star and National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson

The Attucks Tigers made it to the Indiana High School Boys Basketball Tournament championship game for the first time in 1951 but lost to Evansville's Reitz Memorial High School, 66–59. On the Monday before Super Saturday at Butler Fieldhouse in 1955, when the four remaining teams would play for the state championship, a meeting was convened at the office of Indianapolis mayor Alex M. Clark. The principal of Attucks, Dr. Russell Lane, was there, along with at least one representative from the police department, the fire chief, and a couple of downtown businessmen (all white).

Also, the school superintendent, Dr. Herman L. Shibler, attended, but if not, he was certainly monitoring the proceedings. It was 51–32 at halftime on Super Saturday and sensing victory, Attucks applied full-court pressure in the third period. And then it was over. The final score was 97–74. It's good that Attucks stopped scoring when it did because the old-school scoreboard could not register three digits. Robertson led Attucks to another championship in 1956, beating Lafayette's Jefferson High School 79–57 and becoming the first state champion team in IHSAA history to complete a season undefeated since the state tournament began in 1911.

The program won its third IHSAA state basketball championship in 1959. Because the school's Black student-athletes played and won contests with predominately white teams, historians have pointed out that Attucks's successful basketball program also "mobilized the black community" and served as "role models for black youths."


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