Recordings will provide a link to yesteryear

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      Memories of the past are ingrained in the minds of men and women who through the years have been part of the South Dakota basketball experience. Those memories are treasures that should be preserved. A commitment to that ideal is the motivation behind a new project which is being undertaken by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     Executive director Dave Wagner (right) is working to create an oral history of South Dakota prep basketball. He will record interviews across the state which will eventually be compiled into an archive collection. Wagner’s intention is to interact with people from different backgrounds who have contributed to the sport in various ways  — as players, coaches, officials, journalists and fans — and allow them to tell their stories in their own words.

     “We believe it is important to document the experiences of these basketball pioneers to ensure that the memories they have to share are not lost forever,” says Wagner. “These people have done so much to help our sport achieve the popularity that it commands today. They should never be forgotten.”

     Their stories will serve as permanent evidence of what basketball has meant to generations of South Dakotans. Copies of the recordings will be available for public listening in the Hall of Fame room 2110 at the Sanford Pentagon.

Pandemic plagued S.D. and the world in 1918

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     A little more than 100 years ago the 1918 influenza pandemic took a tragic toll. Often referred to as the Spanish flu, its deadly impact was felt across the globe. In the United States alone an estimated 675,000 lives were lost.

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame will publish its 2020 Fall Newsletter in November. Featured will be a comprehensive look at how our state coped during the 1918 pandemic and of South Dakota’s effort to maintain some degree of normalcy by forging ahead with prep basketball and the single-class state tournament.

     Also in the newsletter will be a profile of a proud program that battled its way to the threshold of South Dakota basketball glory only to endure far more than a fair share of heartbreaks. Another story in the newsletter will remember an eminent personality whose venerable handprint was visible on our state tournaments for many years.

     The 13th edition of the biannual newsletter will be mailed free to the more than 1,200 people on our mailing list. They reside in 41 different states. All past editions can be accessed in the Newsletter Archives section of this website.

Basketball trailblazer Thune dies at age 100

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     One of South Dakota’s most respected and admired basketball trailblazers, Harold Thune, died Saturday, Aug. 15. He had reached the age of 100.

     Thune was a 1937 graduate of Murdo High School. As a senior he led the Coyotes to the school’s first-ever State Class B Tournament. Murdo took second place. The Coyotes defeated Bridgewater and Redfield before falling in the championship game to Doland 32-27. Thune was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

     A member of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s inaugural Class of 2010, he was also inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.

     During his collegiate career Thune was a standout in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Minnesota. He then served as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot in World War II.

     Thune, the father of U.S. Senator John Thune, spent many years in his hometown of Murdo as a businessman and educator. He recently resided in Central City, Neb.

Names of Wood, Cobb still resonate in S.D.

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     During the early stages of high school athletics in South Dakota, two visionary coaches, one in East River and the other in West River, emerged as examples of how to build and sustain premier programs.

     Howard Wood was born in Canada and graduated from Potsdam Normal College (N.Y.). He arrived at Sioux Falls Washington in 1908. Wood coached the Warriors to four state basketball championships and had a career record of 430-141. In football his teams won 17 state titles and went 246-74-16. In track Wood guided SFW to 16 state championships.

     Euclid Cobb was born in Texas and earned a degree from Monmouth College (Ill.). He took over as coach at what would become Rapid City Central in 1920. Cobb’s team won a state basketball title in 1942. In football he had a career record of 144-43-13 while posting seven undefeated seasons: 1922, 1923, 1925, 1927, 1931, 1932 and 1943.

     Wood spent 39 years at Washington and died in 1949. A prominent Sioux Falls stadium, Howard Wood Field, was named in his memory. Cobb died in 1986. The school he served for 41 years gave him the ultimate compliment when in 1934 it used his surname to change its mascot from the Tigers. Since then Central’s teams have been the Cobblers.

Krogman, Young headline 2,000-point clubs

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     Don Jacobsen graduated from Lake Norden High School in 1957 after scoring 2,825 points for the Bluejays. That total reigned as the South Dakota boys career record for 50 years.

     Until Dec. 20, 2007. That night White River star Louie Krogman moved past Jacobsen in a Lakota Nation Invitational game at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

     Krogman (pictured at left in a University of South Dakota photo during his college career) concluded his White River prep career in 2008 with 3,521 points. He leads the list of 39 documented boys who have surpassed the 2,000-point plateau in state history. Jill Young (pictured at right) of Mitchell Christian graduated in 2007 with 3,317 points and leads the 21 girls in the state who have reached 2,000. Young later played at South Dakota State University. Click on ‘Records’ at the top of this website to see both complete lists.

     The first player to reach 2,000 points in South Dakota was Stanton Uhlir in 1951. He notched 2,023 for Kadoka. Nine more boys players surpassed the milestone before the decade of the 1950s came to an end: Jacobsen, Milt Sorenson, Bob Swanhorst, LaMoine Torgerson, Jerry Wingen, Dale Hall, Terry Slattery, Cliff Albee and Phil Miedema. Among girls in the state Robin Anderson of Clear Lake was the first to surpass 2,000. She totaled 2,332 points before graduating in 1980.

Leadership is key to growth of Hall of Fame

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     Since the chartering of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, leadership has been provided by an evolving board of directors. Thirty-eight people have served during the organization’s 11 years of existence.

     A list of the 16 current board members is documented on the right-hand side of this website under Leadership Group. Those individuals work closely with Executive Director Dave Wagner to establish Hall of Fame guidelines and policy.

     The all-time roster of board members: Tyrone Albers, Joe Backus, Mike Begeman, Chad Bergan, Frank Brost, Elton Byre, Dann Cecil, Jim Cordts, Bob Ehrke, Ed Feigen, Deb Finnesand, Ron Flynn, Gordon Fosness, Lynn Frederick, Gene Furness, Greg Hansen, Dan Holsworth, Robert Hull, Rich Husman, Randy Jencks, Bill Marquardt, Marv McCune, Jesse Mendoza, Myron Moen, Colleen Moran, Roger Nelson, Harley Petersen, Lee Stoddard, Bob Swanhorst, Tyson Theeler, Jim Thorson, Wayne Thue, Leon Tobin, LaMoine Torgerson, Rob Van Laecken, Dave Wagner, Al Wieman, Stuart Zephier.

40 years ago: loss in OT ended 64-game streak

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     The 1980 Freeman Classic produced one of the most iconic games in the history of high school basketball in South Dakota. A crowd of 7,100 had turned out at the Sioux Falls Arena to watch the Armour Packers attempt to extend their state-record boys winning streak in a marquee matchup against the highly regarded Beresford Watchdogs.

     The Packers of Coach Burnell Glanzer had won 64 consecutive games, in the process claiming Class B state championships in 1978 and 1979. They had broken the record of 61 straight wins set by Arlington in the 1930s.

     Armour was led by a pair of all-state players, 5-foot-11 senior Dan Freidel and 6-2 junior Jeff Tiefenthaler. The Packers were without senior standout Dennis Tiefenthaler, who was sidelined by an injury sustained in football.

     Beresford was built around 6-4 junior all-stater Keith Larson and was coached by Jim Sorenson.

     Through four quarters the teams battled on even terms. Then with only two seconds left in overtime Beresford senior Brian Rick hit a dramatic 20-foot shot to give the Watchdogs a 47-45 victory. The record streak was over.

Championships in ’20 create memories of SDIC

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     From the time it was first chartered in 1917 until it was disbanded in 2000, the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference for 83 years was an NAIA fixture and an important part of the sports landscape in our state.

     The recent 2020 basketball season was especially successful for some former SDIC members as four NCAA Division II regular-season titles were earned. Champions were the Black Hills State University men, the Northern State University men and the University of Sioux Falls men and women. The combined rosters of those teams included 11 players who prepped in South Dakota.

     Black Hills State, which compiled an overall record of 20-9, shared the Rocky Mountain Conference championship with Dixie State (Utah). Both were 17-5 in the league. Northern State won the North Division of the Northern Sun Conference. The Wolves fashioned records of 18-4 in the league and 26-6 overall. USF took both titles in the South Division of the Northern Sun. The Cougar men were 17-5 and 22-8 while the women had records of 17-5 and 26-6.

Newsletter features Native American theme

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     Throughout the history of basketball in our state – since the sport was first introduced in South Dakota at a summer conference at Big Stone Lake in 1896 – Native American players and teams have excelled with style and with flair.

     The talent of standout players such as Louis Tyon (right) earned the respect of fans across the state. Tyon led the Pine Ridge Thorpes to the Class B state championship in 1962 and then to a runner-up finish in 1963. He was chosen first team all-state both seasons.

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame has published its 2020 Spring Newsletter. Among featured stories are several which recognize the many important contributions to South Dakota basketball made through the years by Native Americans.

     Our 12th biannual newsletter was mailed free on April 23 to the over 1,200 current subscribers who follow the Hall of Fame from 40 states. We publish both spring and fall editions. To read past issues go to Newsletter Archives on the right-hand side of this website.

Coronavirus causes change in banquet plans

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     Out of respect for the ongoing health issues associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame has suspended plans to hold its induction banquet on March 28.

     “Our primary concern is for the wellbeing and safety of our inductees and their families and friends. As deeply as we regret the need to postpone the banquet, we are convinced this is the proper decision in the interest of public health,” said Executive Director Dave Wagner. “South Dakota’s proud basketball heritage is celebrated each year at our banquet. The former greats who were to be honored this year will now be inducted at the banquet on March 27, 2021.”

     Included are Janel Birrenkott, Jerry Even, Jayne (Even) Gust, Austin Hansen, Joe Krabbenhoft, Sarah Mannes Homstad, Arlo Mogck, Bob Pidde, Dave Thomas and Dennis Womeldorf. To be inducted posthumously are Sam Perrin, Loren Thornton and Stanton Uhlir. Recognized as a Team of Excellence will be the Washington Warriors of 1980.

     Ticket purchasers who want to leave their reservations intact for the 2021 banquet do not have to do anything. Those who prefer a refund should contact Mary Pennington at mepcpa@hotmail.com or 970-946-2605.