Their team was small, averaging 5'11" while the other school had several African American players who were over 6'4" tall and could dunk the ball. No one in Milan had ever dunked a basketball. They were a bunch of farm boys who loved playing basketball. The other team was also the prior year's state champion (they had already won five championships), and had continued to roll over teams that season. Players from this large high school typically received athletic scholarships while most of Milan's players typically went on to working on their families' farms. The championship game was played in Indianapolis, Indiana in a gym that seated 15 times more people than the town of Milan. They were David versus Goliath, and Milan won with a last second shot.
Of course the movie with Gene Hackman: "Hoosiers," is about this amazing feat but it does take some liberties. One is that they made it look like the team struggled getting to the championship game and won a lot of games through last second shots, when the fact is, they killed their competition. Hardly any of their games were close. What is also not true, is that the new coach that led the team to the championship wasn't an old man who was kicked out of coaching college sports, instead he was Coach Marvin Wood, who was just 24 years old and had played basketball for Butler College. The previous coach had gotten fired for insubordination so Wood's name came up as a replacement because he was coaching at another high school.
He was a unique coach in many ways. His primary focuses were on conditioning so they could take over in the last quarter while the other teams were running out of steam, and on passing the ball. His mentality was that you can take a decent shooter and make him great, if you passed the ball around and waited for the best shot. If you're familiar with basketball, Coach Wood used a four corners offense well before Coach Dean Smith did at the University of North Carolina. In 1954, there was no shot clock so Coach Wood would sit on a lead by having his players throw the ball back on forth for several minutes; basically they played "keep away," from the defense. This infuriated other teams and led to very low scoring games with Milan always coming out on top.
"Hoosiers," is an awesome movie so if you haven't seen it, check it out. If you have seen it, see it again, it will still inspire you.