Bellevue had a fairly easy time in the districts, but hit a good Toledo Macomber team in the finals of the regionals after beating Van Wert’s stall game 31-13 in the prelude.
Bellevue’s teamwork and Bob Green’s hot hand were instrumental in sending the Redmen toward the University of Toledo Field House for the state finals. With the score tied at 26, Green slipped inside to hit a short shot to give Bellevue the lead at 28-26.
The Redmen got the ball back with over two minutes left and still clinging to a two-point lead. Macomber tried desperately to get the ball back, but Bellevue put in the deep freeze until the final horn sounded.
One rule explanation must be made at this point. A team could not foul to get the ball back in those days. When a player was fouled, he had the option of shooting a free throw or taking the ball out of bounds. Bellevue was fouled a number of times, but they continued to take the ball out of bounds, thus denying Macomber the ball.
Bellevue met Massillon in the first round of the state finals. Massillon, the school Strobel attended, was three times the size of Bellevue. But the Redmen paced by Green’s 22 markers including four points in the final minute, earned a berth in the finals with a 47-44 triumph.
The defending state champions, Middletown’s Middies, would provide the final test. The Middies came into the game with a 44-game winning streak. Bellevue wasn’t far behind with a 42-2 mark over two years. Again, the game went down to the wire.
In the pressure-packed final period, the weary cagers battled on even terms and on three occasions time was called by the coaches because Gene Dudley and Fred Friend both suffered leg cramps. Vince Schlict’s basket gave the Redmen the lead, 32-30, but the Middies tied it on Ed Clickner’s fielder. Friend and Dudley meshed free throws and Bellevue led 34-32. Clickner retaliated to tie it at 34 to set up the final hectic seconds.