Two of the most iconic figures in our state’s basketball history are among the 15 former greats who will be inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame during 2019.
Russell “Sox” Walseth and Megan Mahoney are in the Class of 2019 to be honored at the Hall of Fame’s 10th annual induction banquet at 1 p.m. on March 23 at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls.
Walseth led Pierre to the Class A state championship in 1944 and then starred at guard for the University of Colorado. Later he returned to the Buffaloes and eventually became the first coach in the history of NCAA basketball to lead both the men’s team (1956 through 1976) and the women’s team (1980 through 1983) at the same school. Jubilant players lift Walseth to their shoulders after a Colorado victory in the photo above from the Walseth family collection.
Mahoney was chosen to the Class AA all-state team a record five years during her career for Sturgis. She scored 2,066 points for the Scoopers. Mahoney was an all-Big 12 Conference guard/forward at Kansas State University and played for the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA. In the KSU photo above Mahoney brings the ball up the court for the Wildcats.
The Watertown Arrows of 1959 will be recognized during the banquet as the Team of Excellence for 2019. Jim Marking coached the Arrows to the State Class A Tournament championship and a 20-2 record.
Ticket information, and details about a reception for inductees on March 22, will be announced later on this website.
THE CLASS OF 2019
Jodi (Pipes) Altenburg, Harrisburg (Armour 1988): Armour went 73-3 and won three Class B state titles with Altenburg as point guard. As a senior she averaged 21 points per game and finished with a career total of 1,333. Altenburg went on to become an all-North Central Conference player at the University of South Dakota.
Scott Beckstrand, Sioux Falls (Lincoln 1989): Beckstrand sparked Lincoln to three Sioux Interstate Conference championships, being league MVP twice, and three Class AA state tournaments. He scored a school-record 1,289 points. Beckstrand was a four-year starter at Augustana University where he was all-NCC and finished with 1,681 points.
Mike Begeman, Sioux Falls (Parker 1975): An elite shooter, Begeman led Parker to a three-year record of 70-10 and runner-up finishes in the Class B state tournaments of 1973 and 1974. He averaged 24 points per game as a senior and had a total of 1,477 during his career with the Pheasants. Begeman was a four-year performer at Augustana.
LeRoy “Lefty” Engebritson (Webster 1946): The late Engebritson made a half-court shot at the buzzer to beat Platte in the quarterfinals of the 1946 State Class B Tournament. The Bearcats won the title and went 29-1. Engebritson was so talented that he played both Big Ten Conference basketball and football at the University of Minnesota.
Dave Fischer, Hartford (Wall 1961): An incredibly rare seven-year varsity player, Fischer transferred from Quinn to Wall as a senior. He averaged 24 points per game for the Eagles and totaled 2,049 in his final four seasons. Fischer went on to South Dakota State University and helped the Jackrabbits to the NCAA College Division national title in 1963.
Rolland Furois (Deadwood 1940): The late Furois was the catalyst behind two state championships. Deadwood won its second consecutive Class B title in 1940 as Furois’ eight late-game points rallied the Bears past Gregory 38-33 in the finals. In a low-scoring era, he netted 30 points in the tournament and was chosen all-tourney for the second year.
Shannon (Schlagel) Huber, Clark (Clark 2001): Clark had a runner-up and third-place finish in the Class A state tournament as Huber scored 1,518 career points on teams that went 71-16. She was a four-year starter at South Dakota State who totaled 1,887 points. Huber and the Jackrabbits won the NCAA Division II national title in 2003.
Freddie Knife (Cheyenne Agency 1959): The late Knife’s ball-handling and passing were invaluable assets for Cheyenne teams that achieved back-to-back records of 33-1 and 31-3. The Braves finished third in the Class B state tournament in 1958 and then behind Knife won the championship in 1959. Knife averaged 15 points per game.
Megan Mahoney, Black Hawk (Sturgis 2001): Mahoney paced Sturgis to runner-up finishes in the Class AA state tournament in 1998 and 1999. She started every game while at Kansas State as the Wildcats had a four-year record of 104-27. After her time in the WNBA, Mahoney has played more than 10 years professionally in Europe.
Alan Nissen, Lincoln, Neb. (Miller 1968): After leading Miller, among the smaller schools in Class A, to two state tournaments, Nissen became a three-year starter at the University of Nebraska. Miller claimed third in the 1968 tourney as Nissen led all scorers with 70 points. He averaged 18 per game as the Rustlers finished with a 19-3 record.
Henry Park Jr., Chester (Chester 1945): Chester had never reached a state tournament until Park paced the Maroons to the Class B event in 1945. He scored 31 points in a single game and finished the tourney with a record total of 59. Chester took fifth. Park later had a distinguished career playing military basketball while serving in the U.S. Army.
Doug Peterson, Rapid City (Watertown 1960): Peterson played in three consecutive Class A state title games, with Watertown claiming a championship in 1959. A noted passer and defender, Peterson averaged 13 points per game as a senior. While at South Dakota State, he was a key member of the NCAA College Division national title team in 1963.
Cregg Skarin, Redfield (Hitchcock 1970): The leading scorer in the 1970 Class B state tournament, Skarin notched 88 points for fifth-place Hitchcock. He averaged 21 per game that season for the Bluejays as they went 27-2. Skarin was an all-South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference player at Huron College and surpassed 1,000 career points for the Tribe.
Lindsay Thomas, Miami (Roosevelt 2002): During her high school years, Thomas never experienced defeat. Roosevelt earned four Class AA state titles and was undefeated each season. Thomas averaged 19 points per game as a senior. While at Colorado State University she was twice chosen to the all-Mountain West Conference team.
Russell Walseth (Pierre 1944): The late Walseth starred in basketball at Pierre and Colorado. He also played baseball for the Buffaloes and in the New York Yankees farm system. He was Big Eight Conference men’s coach of the year five times while guiding the Buffaloes and he later earned the same award as coach of the Colorado women’s team.