ANDERSON — From 1957 through 1966 the Madison Heights Pirates boys' basketball team never won an Anderson Sectional title. But all of that changed when Phil Buck came to town.
During his first year as head coach at Madison Heights High School, Phil Buck led the Pirate team to its first ever sectional championship in the school's 11 year history. In the championship game of the 1967 Anderson Sectional, the Pirates defeated the Alexandria Tigers by a score of 93 to 75. In the two games leading to the sectional win, the Pirates easily handled the Anderson Indians 74 to 59, followed by a 89 to 80 victory over Pendleton High. The following week the Pirates competed in the Anderson Regional defeating Mountpelier 73 to 65 in the afternoon game before losing a tough battle to the Marion Giants 80 to 77 in the Regional championship contest. Earlier in the 1966-67 basketball season, Madison Heights edged out a 76 to 75 win over Marion. The Pirates compiled a record of 17 wins against eight losses during Phil Buck's inaugural season at Madison Heights. All eyes were now focused on that winning team from the south side of town.
With seniors Jack Rector, Jim Regenold, and Rocky Bowers back in the starting lineup, the 1967-1968 season looked as promising as the year before. On Thanksgiving eve, the Pirates kicked off the season with a 70-59 victory over Markleville. They continued to prove themselves the best team in the county by beating Elwood, Anderson, Highland, and Lapel during regular season play. But the Pirates came up one point short in the holiday tourney with a 70-69 loss to the Alexandria Tigers. Though the Pirates ended the year with a losing record of 11 wins and 14 losses, they were still considered the team to beat in the Anderson Sectional. The Pirates did not let their fans down.
In the first game of the Sectional, Madison Heights defeated Frankton by a score of 72-63, but narrowly escaped an early exit from the tournament with a four-point win over Markleville. The Pirates went on to defeat the Highland Scots in the title game and were crowned Anderson Sectional champions for the second year in a row.