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Waterloo Wonders documentary to be released on Friday

ATHENS — WOUB Public Media will continue its YouTube release of locally-produced documentaries this week, as Ohioans are staying at home and following the directive of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton to fight the spread of COVID-19.

In an ode to the loss of the NBA basketball season this year and the NCAA tournament, WOUB is releasing “The 8th Wonder: The Waterloo Wonders” on YouTube at 8 p.m. on Friday.

The team made national headlines when the teens, coached by Magellan Hairston, won back-to-back Ohio state championships in 1934 and 1935.

The Wonders team consisted of five players who tied rags together to make a basketball and learned to play the game with a ball that wouldn’t bounce. What came out of this endeavor was a group of boys who learned how to pass the ball so proficiently that no opponent could stop them. Together, they made history. The hour-long documentary premiered in 2008.

“Many believe that the on-court antics of the Wonders were what lead to the start of the Harlem Globetrotters,” said WOUB Community Engagement manager Cheri Russo.

The village of Waterloo has an Ohio historical marker dedicated to them and the road in front of the old high school was renamed “Wonder Way” last October during the second annual Waterloo Wonders Day.