Highlights of the past 20 years

On Nov. 17, 1989, Bethany and Westview squared off in the first-ever basketball game at the Bruins, then Braves, new home. After many years of playing home games at other venues in the county, fans and team had looked forward to celebrating this day for a long time. And celebrate they did. When Phil Friesen hit a three-pointer to give Bethany a 3-0 lead, exuberant fans showered the floor with toilet paper. Though Bethany received the requisite technical foul for the celebration and ended up losing a close game, coach Jim Buller had no regrets. "Having our own gym, a home, needed celebrating."

As a footnote to that event: Bethany returned the favor the next year, defeating Westview when they opened their new gym. As fate would have it, the same officiating crew worked both games. Recalling the previous year's events, the crew asked Westview coach Gerald Eash during the pregame coaches meeting whether any festivities were planned this year. Coach Eash assured them that would not be the case. However, Coach Buller piped up, "Well, we figured we'd help you out. We have ten guys with toilet paper in the second row of the Westview student section ready to go as soon as you score." Eash was momentarily taken aback until he saw Buller's mischievious smile.

As you enter the south gym lobby doors, plaques recognize the significant leadership that Bethany supporters Bob and Sue Miller and their family and Dennis L. Weaver provided in the bulding project. Their names and those of many others who contributed financially to the project are engraved on metal leaves that form a tree on the west wall as you enter the gym lobby. Thanks to all who generously gave to the project, Bethany basketball and volleyball teams have had a home for 20 years. While there have been many memorable moments over these past 20 years, following are some Menno Lands highlights from boys basketball:

  • Nov. 17, 1989: Fans shower the floor with toilet paper when Phil Friesen gives Bethany a 3-0 lead over Westview in the inaugural game at the Menno Lands.
  • Dec. 21, 1996: Senior Eliot Friesen breaks Tom Lantz’s 12-year-old school scoring record and finishes with a 1146 career points.
  • Nov. 21, 1997: Elkhart Co. Hall of Fame inductee Brad Schrock scores 23 points in 64-62 season opener over Westview as Bruins roll on to first-ever sectional and regional championships.
  • Feb. 19, 2002: On senior night Jordi Buller scores 21 fourth-quarter points to rally Bruins to an overtime win over Central Noble that sets stage for three postseason OT or last-second shot wins enroute to sectional and regional championships.
  • Dec. 7, 2008: Seth Kauffman has first of three season dunks and Bruins go on to win fourth sectional.