Local News

1997 Four Final Team to be Honored

(La Porte, IN) - It was 25 years ago when the La Porte High School boys' basketball team made it to the final four in the state tournament.


The players will be back together again tomorrow, being recognized at halftime during the Slicer's game with Crown Point at Slicer Gym.


Commentator for the Slicers Chip Jones said the core players on the final four team lost many games early in their careers, going 3-19 in the 1994-95 season. But they kept improving each year under the watchful eye of their head coach Joe Otis.


"Joe kept that group together. They kept on getting better and better. That was a magic ride. It really brought the town together," Jones said.

Known for its three-point shooting, the Slicers lost a nail-biter in the state semi-finals, 57-56, against Delta High School. One of the star players was Senior Ben Tonagel, a former LaPorte High School principal who's now an assistant superintendent for the La Porte School Corporation. Ben's younger brother, Greg, also starred on that team. Greg Tonagel is the head men's basketball coach at Indiana Wesleyan University. 


Another player was Chris Bootcheck, who pitched a couple of years in the major leagues. 

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