The upcoming 2020 basketball season in South Dakota will mark the 75th anniversary of the last state high school tournaments which were contested amidst the horrific specter of World War II.
United States forces fighting with the Allies in Europe and the Pacific included South Dakotans from virtually every community across the state. Many had been high school players before their military service. With continual prayers for their safety, and for peace, prep sports did its part in the crucial effort to sustain morale on the home front.
State championships were won in March of 1945 by Huron and Madison. Huron defeated Aberdeen 36-29 in the Class A finals behind standouts Bob Grove, John Jacobson and Eugene Sibley. Madison edged Webster 30-28 for the Class B title and was represented on the all-tournament team by Bob Aga and Cal Mathison. At that time South Dakota also had a popular Catholic state tournament. Sioux Falls Cathedral won the 1945 championship over Madison St. Thomas 41-36.
Within the next six months, after the surrender of Germany and then of Japan, the war was finally over.