‘Welcome to Indiana basketball’: Canfield girls compete at historic Hoosier Gym


The Cardinals played on the home floor for the Hickory Huskers in the classic basketball film "Hoosiers"

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. (WKBN) – The Canfield girls basketball team got the opportunity of a lifetime Sunday. Their January 19 game against Stow-Munroe Falls took place on the historic floor of Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Indiana.

That court served as the home floor for the Hickory Huskers in the classic basketball film “Hoosiers,” starring Gene Hackman.

PHOTOS: Canfield girls compete at historic Hoosier Gym

The movie was released in 1986, roughly 25 years before these high school girls were born. So the players got a crash course in the gym’s history by watching the movie together Thursday before the game. The film was also played on the charter bus ride to Indiana for both Canfield and Stow-Munroe Falls, who traveled together.

In fact, the Cardinals and Bulldogs shared more than just a ride to Indiana. The two teams ate together and stayed in the same hotel.

“I think the fathers and mothers enjoyed the experience more than the kids,” said Canfield Head Coach Matt Reel.

Reel is no stranger to Hoosier Gym. He said he’s visited three or four times before but this was his first opportunity to coach his team on that historic floor.

“It was incredible. I think the players got a feeling of how special it really was.”

As for the game, it was nearly as dramatic as the movie itself, with Canfield winning 53-51 in double overtime. Senior Grace Mangapora led the way with 25 points for the Cardinals.

And it may not the last time these two teams meet up. Stow-Munroe Falls and Canfield will play in the same Division I district this year, so their next meeting could come in tournament play.

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