Revisit the path that led S.D. to three classes

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The Armour Packers of 1987, after winning their fifth consecutive Class B state girls title, were, from left, kneeling, Rita Freidel and Bonnie Hrdlicka. Middle, Jodi Pipes, Dana Nielsen, Jennifer Hawley, Tammy Weisser,  Peggy Leonard, Christa VanZee, Meg Nase and Krista McFarland. And back, Michelle Kelly, Nicole DeVries and manager Amy Stern.

The Armour Packers of 1987, after winning their fifth consecutive Class B state girls title, were, from left, kneeling, Rita Freidel and Bonnie Hrdlicka. Middle, Jodi Pipes, Dana Nielsen, Jennifer Hawley, Tammy Weisser, Peggy Leonard, Christa VanZee, Meg Nase and Krista McFarland. And back, Michelle Kelly, Nicole DeVries and manager Amy Stern.

Delbert Gillam (34) scored 72 points in a single game for Argonne during 1953.

Delbert Gillam (34) scored 72 points in a single game for Argonne during 1953.

       The makeup of South Dakota high school basketball was changed dramatically when the controversial decision was made to discard the two-class system that had been in effect from 1936 through 1985.

        The 2016 Fall Newsletter of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame examines the decision to change to three classes. Profiled is the man, Q.C. Miles, who played an integral role in the process. And included is a recap of the voting for the top players of the two-class era.

        Also featured are the Armour Packers and their five consecutive Class B state girls championships. The Packers compiled an overall 123-4 record while winning titles in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987.

        And the newsletter introduces readers to high scoring Delbert Gillam of the Argonne Arrows. His average of 25.9 points per game as a senior in the 1953 season included an amazing single-game record outburst of 72.

        Those on the Hall of Fame mailing list were sent the newsletter on Nov. 16. We publish two issues per year and they are distributed free.

        To get your name on our mailing list provide your home address to Executive Director Dave Wagner at dlwagner@tnics.com.

The Golden Anniversary of an historic “B”

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        Fifty years ago Tripp High School was preparing to open a season that would end with Coach Jim Flevares and his Wildcats cutting down the nets at the Sioux Falls Arena as undefeated Class B state champions of 1967.

        It was a memorable tournament because of Tripp’s 28-0 record and the unprecedented 103-point scoring of Mike Freier. State tournaments in South Dakota date back to 1912 and until Freier no player had ever reached 100.

        The Wildcats topped Beresford in the first round as Freier had 32 points. He went for 36 in the semifinals against Frederick. Tripp beat Herreid 72-46 in the finals as Freier scored 35. In the tourney the 5-foot-9 guard shot 93 percent on free throws (25 of 27) and 62 percent from the field. Many of his shots were long range before the 3-point goal.

        Freier played one season at the University of South Dakota and then finished his career as a standout at Yankton College for the Greyhounds. He was inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

South Dakota influence is felt in Power 7

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        With the 2016-17 college season nearing tip off, there are coaches in the Power 7 conferences whose basketball roots can be traced back to their careers as outstanding high school players in South Dakota.

        Programs at the University of Nebraska of the Big Ten Conference are led by men’s coach Tim Miles and women’s coach Amy (Gusso) Williams. Miles is a native of Doland and Williams is from Spearfish.

        Miles is entering his fifth season guiding the Cornhuskers. In his 22 years as a collegiate head coach, spent at five different schools, he has a 346-287 record. Williams is beginning her first season at Nebraska. She is 193-109 overall in nine years as a head coach, including 96-44 during the past four seasons at the University of South Dakota.

        Mitchell product Ryan Miller serves as an assistant  at Texas Christian University of the Big 12 Conference. Joe Krabbenhoft, who prepped at Sioux Falls Roosevelt, is an assistant at Big Ten member University of Wisconsin.

        Other conferences in the Power 7 are the Atlantic Coast, Atlantic 10, Big East, Pac-12 and Southeastern.

Exhibits showcase state champions, venues

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     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s presence at the Sanford Pentagon has been significantly enhanced by the recent progress that has been made on three important projects.

     Six panels featuring 8 x 10-inch images of state championship teams are now on display in corridors along the second floor. Each panel is 40 x 70 inches. Pictures depict each boys and girls champion from the first one-class tournament in 1912 through the end of the two-class system in 1985. A seventh panel will soon recognize champions of the Catholic state tournament that played a prominent role in South Dakota basketball history from 1937 through 1964.

     A separate display recognizes those special teams which compiled undefeated records during their title seasons. This exhibit was made possible by the generosity of Nancy Swett, wife of the late Hall of Fame member Rex Swett.

      Another display chronicles the evolution of venues that have served as sites of state tournaments. Included are rare photos of Daum’s Auditorium in Huron, where the first tournament was held in 1912, and Spafford Hall in Aberdeen.

     The Hall of Fame’s main exhibit area is on the first floor of the Pentagon near the main entrance.

Newsletter pays tribute to history of LNI

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LNI 2015       The hundreds of people whose names are currently on the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame mailing list have been sent our 2016 Spring Newsletter. It was mailed to them on June 2.

      Among topics explored in the newsletter: *A special tournament, the Lakota Nation Invitational, that has come to stand for much more than just basketball. *Region II champion Ipswich’s surprising run to the Class B state title in 1952. *And a Q&A with Megan Mahoney, who has carried the banner of South Dakota through a decorated career as a prep, collegiate and professional star. In the LNI photo above Chris Comes Flying of Lower Brule drives against Justice Morrison of White River in the 39th annual tournament last December (Photo by Roman Hawran Lacho).

      South Dakota basketball enthusiasts from 30 different states receive the free newsletter. They live from California to Massachusetts and from North Dakota to Texas. Our newsletters also can be downloaded on this website.

      If you are not on our mailing list and would like to be added, e-mail your name and home address to Executive Director Dave Wagner at dlwagner@tnics.com or you can contact him by phone by calling (605) 467-3010.

We Commend Champions USD, Augustana

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        With the closing of the 2015-16 school year, the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame feels it appropriate to offer an additional salute to the extraordinary seasons recently completed by the WNIT champion University of South Dakota women’s team and the NCAA Division II champion Augustana University men’s team.

       Amy Williams coached USD (32-6) to the Summit League title with a 15-1 record. The Coyotes then became the league’s first-ever champion of a national postseason tournament. Led by 5-foot-10 senior guard Nicole Seekamp, the Player of the Year in the Summit League, the Coyotes defeated such teams as Creighton, Minnesota and Oregon to reach the WNIT finals. There they beat Florida Gulf Coast 71-65 before a DakotaDome crowd of 7,415.

        Augustana (34-2) was champion of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference at 21-1. Tom Billeter was named NABC Coach of the Year and 6-9 senior forward Dan Jansen was National Player of the Year. The Vikings topped Northwest Missouri State 80-78 to win the Central Regional with senior Casey Schilling named Most Outstanding Player. Then they downed Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) 90-81 to win the Elite Eight with senior Alex Richter chosen as MOP.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2016

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For website (Class of 2016)Wayne Rasmussen 2              The seventh annual induction ceremony and banquet was held by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame on April 2. The event was at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls.

       Welcomed into the Hall of Fame during the banquet were 19 former greats. They expand membership to 117. To read bios of all members of the Hall of Fame click on Inductees on this website.

       The Class of 2016 is, from left, in front, Scott Morgan, Mitchell ’89; Chris Miller, Stickney ’71; Dale Hall, Ravinia ’54; Holly (Sivesind) Borchers, Roosevelt ’93; Lolly Steele, Pine Ridge ’84; and Roger Faber, Canistota ’58.

       In back are, Mason Hecker who was representing his late father Fred Hecker, Washington ’57; Dodie Bemis, who was representing her late father Bob Marske, Andover ’44; Matt Jones, Alpena ’01; Vince Gauer who was representing his late grandfather Bob Marske; Josh Mueller, West Central ’01; Steve Jansa, O’Gorman ’64; Harley Zephier Sr., Dupree ’55; Elton Byre, Reliance ’56; Maury Haugland, Murdo ’54; Amy (Allard) Carmody, Jefferson ’82; and Melissa (Olson) Guebert, Lincoln ’83. Also inducted was Wayne Rasmussen, Howard ’60, who is shown at right. Completing the Class of 2016 were the late Conrad Collin, Huron ’30; and the late Rudy Soderquist, Rapid City ‘37.

Salem ’26: Co-Team of Excellence for 2016

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Salem 1926       Among the highlights of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s annual banquet is the recognition of one of the state’s greatest teams of the past as a Team of Excellence. Two such teams were recognized in 2016.

     One was the Salem Cubs of 1926. Salem recorded an astounding 40-1 record. The Cubs won the single-class state championship and then took third place in the National Interscholastic Tournament that was held in Chicago.

     The team was comprised of, from left, Coach George Edmonds, Gerald Cheadle, Clarence Carey, George Carey, Vernon Cheadle, Jake Schneider, Vernon Sessler, Melvin Olson, Billy Rohlffs and Lemmie Herting.

Huron ’58: Co-Team of Excellence for 2016

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Huron 1958           Huron 1958 was selected as one of two great teams from the state’s past to be honored as a Team of Excellence by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame during its 2016 banquet.

      The Tigers of Coach Carold Heier finished with a 22-0 record after winning the Class A state championship.

      Team members were, from left, Don Tschetter, Dale Schwartz, Dennis Busch, John Ehret, John Fuglsang, Nick Brod, Don Barry, Rex Swett, Al Mason, Tom Martin, Larry Keelin and Bill Madden. Kneeling is student manager Charles Pease.

South Dakota basketball loses loyal friend

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     South Dakota basketball lost one of its most dedicated and loyal advocates with the death of Roger Nelson of Brookings on Feb. 26, 2016.

      Nelson died at age 80 in Sioux Falls. His lifelong association with basketball included an outstanding playing career at Brookings High School,  from which he graduated in 1954, and the University of South Dakota. His contributions as USD’s starting center helped the Coyotes win the NCAA College Division national championship in 1958 in Evansville, Ind.

      Nelson later coached at Fort Pierre, Colman, Onida, West Central, Flandreau, Canova and Deubrook. And for several decades he was among the region’s most respected referees.

      A tireless supporter of the game, Nelson enjoyed and appreciated basketball at all levels. He was a regular spectator at prep and collegiate gyms throughout the area. Nelson was inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. He also served the organization as a past member of its board of directors.