TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Vigo County History Center celebrates a staple of Terre Haute history.

One of the most premier high school basketball tournaments started right here in the Wabash Valley. The Wabash Valley High School Basketball Tournament first kicked off in 1916.

Former players gathered at an exhibit that honors the history of the tournament on Wednesday.

Six players from that era were in attendance to catch up with old friends of the tournament. Former player and winner of the tournament Tim Sutton was one of those there. He said that what was most special about the win was to be able to do it alongside guys that he’s known forever.

“It was three of us who played freshman year, we actually started in the 5th grade and played all through high school,” Sutton explained. “We were just like brothers, and it was like a family team.”

The importance of this tournament runs deep in the Sutton family. Sutton had his father both won the tournament and earned the sportsmanship award as well.

97-year-old Duane Klueh also attended the closing reception. He was a player back in the 1940s and has a storied coaching career in the area.

He said that there was nothing like this tournament. Every ball game was a packed house and he said he enjoyed every minute of it.

“All the students of all the high schools in Vigo County bought a ticket,” Klueh said.

The historic tournament came at a historic time period in the United States for Klueh right on the heels of WWII. He explained that he and many of his teammates enlisted in the armed services after graduating high school.

“If you graduated in ’43, you were probably gone shortly after you graduated,” Klueh said.

Klueh has a storied sports career that expands beyond the this tournament. He coached basketball and tennis for decades at Indiana State University.

He explained that it’s special to be able to look back at history with the group of former players at the reception.

“It’s wonderful to be able to talk with some of these guys that I knew years ago,” Klueh stated.

The exhibit will be on display until March 31st.