H.V. Porter, who made his biggest mark on sports by inventing the laceless, molded basketball and standardizing the rules of the game, was assistant director of the Illinois High School Association from 1928 to 1940. In that role, he also filmed a number of basketball games, including two games in which Springfield High School played during the 1933 state tournament — the semifinal against Hutsonville and the championship game, which SHS lost to Harvey Thornton.
The IHSA has posted two YouTube videos taken from Porter’s films – a 10-minute narrated introduction and an 85-minute version that contains portions of 16 games (without narration but with Porter’s original title cards). The films cover the state basketball tournament from 1932 to 1936.
The shorter video includes snippets of two SHS games in the 1933 tournament. The longer one also includes SHS’s semifinal game against Moline in 1935, when Springfield High won the tournament. SHS beat Thornton in the final that year, but the YouTube video doesn’t show the championship game.
In the 1933 finals, SHS employed a slowdown system in hopes of throttling Thornton’s high-powered offense, led by future baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau. It almost worked. Thornton had to hold off a fourth-quarter SHS surge to win by 14-13.
The Illinois State Journal’s longtime sports editor, Bob Drysdale, described the end of the game, with Thornton holding a 14-9 lead.
… Frazee sank two fielders, both from out near the free throw circle with lanky Thornton guards hanging on him.
Then came Urbanckas for Frazee and Springfield made its last bid, a lightning tipoff play. Halberg got the ball under the hoop, but was smothered and his shot rolled over the hoop as the gun sounded, blasting the hopes of several hundred fans, who nevertheless rushed onto the floor, cheering their favorites as enthusiastically as if they had won.
Halberg was sobbing and the rest of the team was near the same state.
Starters for the SHS team were Leroy Halberg (5 points in the championship), Chick Frazee (4), Charley Warner (3), Billy Martin (1) and Bob Cook.
Springfield High’s coach was Mark Peterman (1898-1968), who, in addition to the 1935 title, had coached the 1928 champions from Canton High School. Peterman, who coached SHS from 1929 to 1947, was named one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament in 2006-07. He also is a member of the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Peterman later was chairman of the Sangamon County Board of Supervisors and the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for lllinois superintendent of public instruction in 1954.
H.V. Porter (1891-75), who began his career as basketball coach at Athens High School, was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960.
Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society.
Mark Peterman was a great coach but an I think he was an even better Uncle.
I was told that when he died the head lines were just “Petes Dead” and every body knew who Pete was.
Henry VanArsdale (H. V.) Porter (1891-1975) coached Athens High School boys basketball from 1919 thru 1928. Had a record of 217-41, guided the team to three state finals: 2nd place in 1924, 4th place in 1926, and appeared at the tournament in 1927. This was in the era of one-class basketball. In a column for the High School Association’s magazine in 1939 he coined the phrase “March Madness,” a term which has been widely used to describe basketball tournaments for the past several decades. But he was first! Always enjoy reading the SangamonLink.
The photo of the 1933 game doesn’t appear to be taken at Huff Gym in Champaign. Looks more like the Illinois State Armory, even though the Armory wasn’t around in 1933. Maybe the photo is from a later year with a different opponent. Google Huff Gym, U. of Illinois, for a photo. I could be wrong! Side note: SHS won the local district tournament over Pawnee High School in 1933 in a game played at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum before more than 2000 fans.
Upon further “review” I looked more closely at the photo and the film from YouTube and it was from Huff Gym in Champaign. The end of court looks exactly like the Armory.
Thanks again, Phil. I need to look up that SHS/Pawnee game.
Editor: the SHS-Pawnee game in 1933 took place in the Coliseum because of the small capacity of SHS’ gym. The portable floor and baskets were rented from the downtown Knights of Columbus.