50th Anniversary Champions were Neighbors

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     Two state champions, separated by about 20 miles along Highway 14, were crowned 50 years ago in South Dakota state basketball tournaments at the Sioux Falls Arena. And both Arlington and Brookings scored the exact same total of 69 points in the final game to earn their titles. With the new high school season approaching let’s look back to 1968.

     Arlington arrived at the Class B Tournament with only one loss and a lineup that featured Paul Harmel and Rich Andrzejewski. But the Cardinals of Coach Bill Hennrich were not rated No. 1. That distinction belonged to Parker.

     The two teams met in the finals. Arlington won 69-64 behind 23 points from Andrzejewski and 20 from Harmel, who totaled 69 in the tourney and was named Most Valuable Player. The Cardinals finished 26-1 and Parker 27-1.

     A week later Brookings, coached by Ken Thury and powered by Lee Colburn, beat Sioux Falls Lincoln 69-57 to claim the Class A championship. A perfect 8 of 8 free throws by 5-foot-6 guard Tom Osterberg in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Bobcats, 18-5. Patriots standout Neil Graff was chosen as MVP after scoring 67 points in the tourney.

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