After winning a sectional title 25 years ago, the Cardinals defeated Franklin Central 72-51 in a regional semifinal. They won the regional crown by defeating defending state champion Lawrence North 57-51, led by 7-0 Eric Montross, who went on to win an NCAA title with the University of North Carolina and was an eventual top 10 pick in the NBA draft.
The Cardinals continued their winning ways by edging Martinsville 61-60 in a semistate opener that went into overtime. Southport advanced to state by defeating New Castle 82-68 in the nightcap.
With an opportunity for a state title looming, the excitement was palpable at the school.
A record crowd of more than 40,000 fans was on hand at the Hoosier Dome to watch the semifinal matchup between Southport and eventual state champion Bedford North Lawrence, led by Mr. Basketball USA Damon Bailey. While the Cardinals fell to defeat by three points, their stellar season has entwined itself into the fabric of Southport lore.
Bill Springer, the Hall of Fame coach who mentored Southport that season, and many of the team’s stars, including Indiana All-Star Marlon Fleming, will be on hand to hang a banner to forever commemorate that memorable season. In addition, the Alumni Association will award a scholarship in honor of the coach and players. The ceremonies will take place between the junior varsity and varsity games (about 7:15 p.m.) against Terre Haute South.
The celebration will also include alumni basketball games from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the fieldhouse. Any alumni who played varsity basketball for the Cardinals is eligible to play. Pizza, snacks and refreshments will be served to the players between games.