(6-17-17) – The Ft. Recovery Indians won their only boys basketball State Championship in 1971 (Class A) when they beat Marion Pleasant 70-57 in the title game. For the Indians the ’71 title helped to ease the pain from 1969 losing in the State Semifinals to Bridgeport 68-59.
The 1970-71 regular season saw the Indians lose just two games, one to stateline rival Bryant (Ind) 78-77, but would come back and win the rematch later in the year75-65. The last game of the season would see future MAC rival Versailles beat the Indians 64-60, after that loss they would make their title run with eight straight wins (Marion Local, Ohio City, New Knoxville, St. Henry, Clinton-Massie, Lehman Catholic, Crestview and Marion Pleasant). During the regular season the Indians would show off their high-scoring machine with totals of, 101 (Ohio City), 106 (Parkway), 113 Mendon-Union and 103 (Parkway). (No 3-point line in 1971)
Hall of Fame Coach Crestview’s Ray Etzler said after his Knights lost in the semifinals to the Indians 62-55:
“Fort Recovery will win and you can look for a wide open game.”
He was right.
Ft. Recovery placed three players on the State All-Tournament team:
Class A All State All-Tournament Team
- Don Jutte – Ft. Recovery – Co-MVP
- Ron May – Ft. Recovery – Co-MVP
- Kevin Dilworth – Ft. Recovery
- Dan Bollinger – Zanesville Rosecrans
- Terry King – Marion Pleasant
Dilworth, who was just a Sophomore, would finish as one of the top scorers in Indians history with 1,363 points, in 1973 he was named to the All State 1st Team .
Other key members of the State title team:
Indians Head Coach Al Souder was one of the most successful coaches to pass through Mercer County. During his time at Ft. Recovery they were Mercer County League Champs in 1967, ‘69, ‘71, ‘73, and ‘78, sectional Champs in ‘67, ‘69, ’70, ‘71, ‘72, ‘73 and ‘84. Fort Recovery won the district in 1969 and 1971 and was the regional champion those two years. The 1969 team was a State Semi-finalist. The 1971 team was the State Champion (26-2). Under Souder the Indians had an undefeated regular season in 1972-73 going 20-0 and 23-1 overall. Souder ended his career with 308 victories
He became a member of the Fort Recovery Hall of Fame in 2006 and in 2009 was inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
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