On Tuesday, December 4th, The Lakeland Athletic Department was able to recognize and celebrate the members of the 1967-1968 Lakeland Boys’ Basketball Team, and then tell their championship story!
Pat Malone – Leading Scorer during that season (413pts.)
Jerald Miller – 3 year starter, point guard, assists leader (114)
Paul Lauver – 2 year starter, 2nd leading scorer (363pts.)
Phil Schlemmer – 3rd leading scorer (319pts.)
Dennis Kretschman (Deceased) – Rebounding Leader (137 Offensive, 142 Defensive)
Bob Speicher (Deceased) – The “6th Man”
Delevan Sherman (Deceased)
Statistician – Roger Nelson
Managers – Larry Watson & Gail Hershey
Assistant Coach – Doug Hendricks (Deceased)
Head Coach – Richard Butt
Kris (Smyers) Hampshire, Kathy (Gage) Gallup, Cheri Merriman, & Barb (Rowe) Gitt.
The 1967-1968 Lakeland Basketball Team is one of only a couple of Lakeland Athletic teams that have ever competed for an IHSAA Regional Championship. This was during a time when basketball was unclassified in the state of Indiana.
Under the leadership of Coach Richard Butt, the Lakers finished the season with an 18-7 Record, winning 9 of the final 11 games. Coach Butt was quoted saying “That is his long career of coaching, this was one of his very best teams in terms of Teamwork!”
Throughout the season the team ranked within the top 10 in the News-Sentinel Area Basketball Ratings. At the time, this covered schools from nine counties surrounding Fort Wayne.
Being crowned IHSAA Sectional Champions within the East Noble Sectional.
They had wins over – Middlebury (65-62), Westview (60-57), & West Noble (76-72)
In the IHSAA Regional Tournament the Lakers avenged a double overtime regular season loss to Dekalb by beating them 61-53 in front of 8,000 fans at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. This was to advance them into the IHSAA Regional Championship, where they played Fort Wayne Central Catholic.
The 1967-1968 Lakeland Boys’ Basketball team remains one of the most successful and storied athletic teams within Lakeland’s athletic history. Their ability to play disciplined, and as a 5-man unit, was a key to their success in many of their games. With Coach Butt’s smart approach to the game, and his calm leadership, the Laker’s were able to achieve tremendous success!
We are were greatly honored to recognize the 1967-1968 Lakeland Boys’ Basketball Team, and their accomplishment in being a Regional Finalist within the IHSAA Tournament!