MORRISTOWN, Ind. — When the most famous shot in Indiana high school basketball history found the bottom of the net on March 20, 1954, Wayne Wood was in his car somewhere in Texas.
His brother, 26-year-old Marvin Wood, was the coach of the Milan Indians. The year before, in 1953, Wayne had left the Air Force base in Waco, Texas, to see Milan play in the final four. South Bend Central won, 56-37.
“The next year, I didn’t come home,” Wayne Wood said. “I didn’t think (Marvin) had a chance.”
Wayne listened to the game on the radio via the 50,000-watt powerhouse WOWO out of Fort Wayne. He was in his car when Bobby Plump’s shot fell through to give Milan a 32-30 victory over Muncie Central in the state finals. “And I wished I was home,” he said.
Wayne Wood, 88, will get perhaps the next-best chance to see history on Saturday. The 1947 Morristown graduate will be in attendance at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with his wife, Martha, to see the Yellow Jackets play for their first state championship. Morristown (27-2) will face Southwood (25-3) in the Class A championship at 10:30 a.m.
For years, Wayne and Martha would go to all of the Morristown games, home and away. Though they are limited to just home games now, they were in the first row to see the Yellow Jackets win the semistate on Saturday in Seymour. They were also there to see Morristown win its first sectional, in 1943. Marvin was a freshman on that team, which entered the sectional with just a 7-9 record but won three games and upset host Shelbyville 24-22 in the sectional title game.
“I was there,” said Martha, who like Marvin, was a 1946 Morristown graduate. “It was something. It was at Shelbyville and Columbus was there, too. Both were big schools.”