PREP BEAT

MIKE NIETO: Thornridge: The perfect movie?

2012-02-23T21:45:00Z 2013-11-07T22:14:11Z MIKE NIETO: Thornridge: The perfect movie?By Mike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
February 23, 2012 9:45 pm  • 

It may not be coming to a theater near you soon, but it may be on the marquee one day.

And what a movie it would make.

This is the 40th anniversary of the Thornridge boys basketball team winning the first-ever Class AA state title and its second straight.

A few years ago, Lincoln, Ill. native Scott Betzelberger, whose radio name is Scott Lynn, wrote a book about the greatest team this state has ever seen. The book, "Thornridge: The Perfect Season in Black and White," dealt with more than just basketball and coach Ron Ferguson. It dealt with integration in District 205 and the social change that swept the country in the 1960s and 1970s. The Vietnam War was still going on and Richard M. Nixon was on his way to winning a second term, but the Watergate scandal would later bring down "Tricky Dick."

Two years later, Lynn or Betzelberger, who is sports director at KEX radio in Portland, Ore., said there is still interest and while book sales are not going through the roof, they have picked up. He has had interest from filmmakers, including an independent one about turning this book into a movie.

"Some people said the story is a cross between "Remember the Titans" and "Hoosiers," Lynn said. "I am excited about it and I am in the process of writing a treatment and writing the book for a movie."

He said the book as written does not fit the movie script. He said when asked for a treatment, he had to ask friend and screenwriter Mike Rich what a treatment was. Because he has a full-time job, he cannot just pick up and go to Hollywood at the drop of a hat, which one potential producer wanted him to so.

Lynn played at Lincoln for the legendary Duncan Reid and was looking forward to possibly matching up against the Falcons, but the Railsplitters got upset and never made it to Champaign. He transcribed hundreds of hours of taped interviews while taking chemotherapy.

He still gets responses from people and is in contact with Ferguson on a weekly basis.

"I get not only Thornridge grads, but those who are from Illinois and the south suburbs, who order and email me about the book," Lynn said. "A lot of people tell me, 'Scott, thanks for letting me relive my youth. It brought back a lot of great memories.' A lot will say that I left this out or should have included this in the book. I could write another book just about the stuff that didn't get in that people sent me."

And the not so good.

"A few people were upset, saying I don't know how this upset their family, I mean the integration," Lynn said.

The book was great and the movie will be greater and this story needs to be told on the screen.

Who will play a young Quinn Buckner?

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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