74 Berries

The Pharos-Tribune was prophetic in 1974 stating the Berries were ready for the regional.

Some members of Logansport’s 1974 regional championship boys basketball team will be back in town on Saturday.

They’ll actually be in Peru at the Rock Hollow Golf Club for the first annual Logansport Berries basketball and football alumni golf outing.

Bill Titus will be golfing along with Mark Lozier and John Maloy from the ’74 semistate squad. Jim Turner will also be golfing at the event.

Titus was the sixth man as a junior on the team. He said probably more members of the team would have been going to the event if not for travel restrictions and fears due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He added his Class of 1975 reunion might have to be postponed until next year or they might cancel it altogether until the 50th anniversary.

He added he’s looking forward to raising funds for the Logansport programs at the golf outing.

Turner along with Ron Kinnaman and Kent Long still live in Logansport, while the other members of the ’74 squad would have to travel.

The starting five consisted of Kinnaman, Long, Lozier, Brad Gundrum and Dan Mullin.

The team was coached by John Bennett. Mike Sorrell was originally hired in June of 1972 to coach the Berries before he changed his mind and decided to stay at Muncie South, citing South decided to increase his wage and family being closer to Muncie. Bennett was highly regarded in the area because of his work with the Berry reserves under Jim Jones.

While the Berries have had many chances since, they have not cut down regional championship nets since ’74.

“We just kind of quietly never dreamed that would have been the last regional championship team in all these years,” Titus said. “People don’t grasp that it’s more difficult now than it was back then for us because of the class system.”

At the time it was thought that the last regional title being in 1967 was a long drought for the Berries, whose 27 regional titles overall are the sixth most in state history. The only schools ahead of them are also NCC schools, Marion (39), Lafayette Jeff (38), Kokomo (34), Muncie Central (34) and Anderson (30). The NCC’s success was one of the main culprits for the switch to multi-class basketball following the 1997 season.

The 1974 season was also the first year in the new high school and Berry Bowl.

The Berries entered sectional play with a 12-8 record playing in the rugged NCC.

They had to survive Peru 57-55 in their first sectional game in the new Berry Bowl. They held Kyle Macy, who entered averaging 36.4 ppg his junior season, to 25 in the win.

The Berries then cruised past Caston 80-60 and Pioneer 81-56 to win the sectional title. The Panthers entered the contest 20-2 and many people were expecting a much closer game but Titus said the Berries’ strength of schedule playing in packed gyms at places like Marion and Anderson had really primed them for a big tournament run. They recorded a rare NCC road win at Kokomo that year.

Logan beat Bellmont 89-74 in a regional semifinal at Marion. The Berries scored 21 straight points to take a 21-4 lead and were in control rest of the way

They then defeated NCC champion Marion 85-67 in the regional final in what was the Berries’ best game of the season on both ends of the court. Mullin, a 6-8 senior, scored 21 points. Lozier, then a 6-1 sophomore, scored 16. Kinnaman and Long each had 12 and Gundrum had a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds.

The Berries were edged by eventual state champion Fort Wayne Northrop 55-53 at the Fort Wayne Semistate. Northrop went on to beat Anderson 67-53, Lafayette Jeff 63-49 and Jeffersonville 59-56 to win the title.

The Berries led by as many as nine points in the first half and had a chance to tie the game at the end against Northrop, which missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 6 seconds left. Tom Packard’s first shot of the game from just inside the halfcourt line bounced off the rim that could have tied it, as the 3-point line had yet to be implemented.

Walter Jordan had 22 points and Mike Muff had 20 to lead Northrop. Lozier had 17 points and 10 boards for Logan. Long scored 14 and Gundrum added eight.

Lozier ended up growing to be 6-3 and went on to being a captain on the University of Michigan’s men’s basketball team. He was the first in state history to be an Indiana All-Star in both basketball and football. Some argue he is the best all-around athlete and perhaps best basketball player ever from Logansport.

Titus said when Rick Scott was hired as Logansport’s offensive coordinator in football he allowed Lozier to call his own plays.

Another tidbit about Lozier is that he played against four Mr. Basketballs in all four years of high school — New Castle’s Kent Benson, Anderson’s Roy Taylor, Peru’s Macy and Marion’s Dave Colescott.

Titus, now 63, was the head coach at Rochester from 1987-90. He then went into administration and retired as the athletic director at Brownsburg in 2015.

He doesn’t want to sound like an old curmudgeon, but he thinks there have been changes that have hurt Logansport’s program since his time in school.

“When the new Berry Bowl and the new high school opened my junior year, they took the freshmen out of the junior highs, because it was Fairview, Columbia and Lincoln junior highs, and I played at Fairview as a freshman. Then the Saints, they had a freshman team,” he said.

“We had 15 starters from the Logansport school system feeding into the sophomore year, to the JV team. It got competitive, not even the 15 starters made the JV team. Some of them went up to varsity maybe. Since the freshmen were taken out of the junior highs and we had 15 starters feeding into the JV team, we haven’t won a regional,” Titus added, saying that the program could be missing on any late bloomers that could help the varsity.

“Today it’s all sorted out before they get to high school, it’s all sorted out in the junior high. I think that’s an amazing fact that’s way overlooked.

“I believe open gyms have ruined basketball too. We all played down at Riverside, every night 6 to 9:30 or 10, every night playing against older players.”

Titus grew up on Tanguy Street, which has produced a lot of varsity players over the years for Logansport.

“Pickup at Jefferson on the playgrounds was a pretty big deal back then. Those are the times I miss,’” he said.

Titus added there are a lot of success stories from the ’74 Logan team.

“I think 11 of us graduated from college from that team. We were real smart, not me, I was a PE major. How hard is that to do? But it was a fun team, fun time,” he said.

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