The Hickory Huskers embody the small-town life, embrace the underdog role and win the state title game at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It rightfully earned a pair of Oscar nominations, including for the score by composer Jerry Goldsmith, because it’s that good.
Both Hickory and Milan won the state finals by two points: Hickory won 42–40, and Milan won 32–30. The last seconds of the Hoosiers state final are fairly close to the details of Milan's 1954 final; the last basket in the film was made from virtually the same spot on the floor as Bobby Plump 's actual game-winner.
Hoosiers: Directed by David Anspaugh. With Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper, Sheb Wooley. A coach with a checkered past and a local drunk train a small town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship.
Hickory is the ultimate Cinderella team, a classic underdog coming out of nowhere.
More Basketball Movie Hickory images
When coach Dale stops to get gas on his way into Hickory, he tells the attendant he is the new basketball coach. "Where'd (Hickory principal) Cletus (Summers) reel you in from?" the Terhune coach...
In the movie Hoosiers, the Hickory Huskers emerge from nowhere to win the title. In real life, the Milan Indians won the title in 1954 not 1952, with a 19-2 regular season record. The Indians had made it to the semi-finals of the state tournament the year before, after the 1952-53 regular season.
It will forever be the quintessential Indiana basketball movie. Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) ruffles feathers as Hickory’s new basketball coach instilling the fundamentals of the game.
Hickory High was terrible until star Jimmy Chitwood arrived to save the day, which means that without Chitwood’s dramatic appearance, the team was screwed and Coach Dale would have been fired. The team that the Huskers played on film for the title (and so the villain) was an intimidating all-black team.
The man who made perhaps the most famous shot in cinematic hoops history never played high school basketball. But as Jimmy Chitwood in the venerated 1986 film “Hoosiers,” Valainis calmly sinks the game-winning jumper to give the Hickory High Huskers the 1952 Indiana state title.