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Fall Newsletter revisits legends of the past

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     South Dakota once had an athlete so uniquely gifted that after leading his high school to a state basketball championship he became a two-sport standout in college and then a star on the national sports stage.

     Read about him and the recognition his accomplishments brought to his home state in the 2019 Fall Newsletter published by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame and sent on Nov. 12 to those on our mailing list.

     Also in the 11th edition of our newsletter is a look at a proud South Dakota conference which for many decades embraced the ideals of competition and fellowship while it was providing opportunity for thousands of athletes.

     Another interesting story examines a team that traveled to Chicago to promote South Dakota basketball when the game was young. Our newsletter is produced twice yearly, in the spring and the fall. It is distributed free.

Peace was ultimate goal during season of ’45

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     The upcoming 2020 basketball season will mark the 75th anniversary of the last South Dakota 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 in 1945 included South Dakota soldiers from virtually every community in 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 Central 36-29 in the Class A finals behind standouts Bob Groves and John Jacobson. Madison got outstanding performances from Cal Mathison and Bob Aga while edging Webster 30-28 for the Class B title. At that time South Dakota also had a 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.

Highly rated preps have ties to South Dakota

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      Entering his senior year Dawson Garcia is one of the nation’s most heavily recruited basketball players. Last season he averaged 27.5 points and 11 rebounds per game for Prior Lake High School in Savage, Minn.
     A 6-foot-11, 220-pound power forward, Garcia is pictured in the submitted photo at right. His parents are Dave and Stacey Garcia.
     Garcia’s mother, as the former Stacey Nelson, helped Milbank win the South Dakota girls Class A state championship in 1987. She then went on to play collegiate basketball at Black Hills State University.
     Garcia’s father played basketball and was also a record-setting quarterback in football at Black Hills State. He is a product of Anton, Colo., and is a member of the Yellow Jacket Athletic Hall of Fame.
     In the rankings of the 247Sports recruiting website, Garcia is the No. 32 prospect in the Class of 2020. Last season he led Prior Lake to a 27-4 record while shooting 61 percent from the field, 82 percent on free throws and 44 percent on 3-pointers. He has been offered scholarships by Kansas, North Carolina and Minnesota among other schools.
     Another Top 100 player with area connections, Mason Miller, is rated as the No. 85 prospect in the Class of 2021 by 247Sports. The 6-9 forward will be a junior at Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn. He is the son of former Mitchell, University of Florida and NBA star Mike Miller.

Leadership vital to future of Hall of Fame

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     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame looks forward to 2020 and the start of its second decade of existence. An evolving board of directors fulfills an essential role in the operation of the Hall of Fame. The board is responsible for establishing policy and providing the direction that has allowed the Hall of Fame to grow and prosper.

     Thirty-seven people have served on the board since the Hall of Fame was chartered in 2009. They have come from as far west as Rapid City, as far north as Aberdeen and as far south as Yankton. Hall of Fame bylaws stipulate that the board shall be comprised of no more than 16 members at any given time. That is the number currently serving.

     The Hall of Fame wishes to compile a list of potential candidates to fill any future vacancies on the board that may occur. To be considered you should have an interest in and an understanding of South Dakota basketball history and a willingness to be available to attend quarterly board meetings in Sioux Falls and other select Hall of Fame activities.

     If interested in being considered as a possible future Hall of Fame board member please click on Contact at the top of this website. List your name and email address. Then provide a brief description of your interest and your basketball background. When finished hit Submit Comment. Your information will remain confidential and will not be published.

Show your pride with a hall of fame ring

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         The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame has teamed with the Jostens Co. to create an elegant ring which commemorates membership in our elite Hall of Fame family. The ring is shown above.

     Features on each ring include the person’s last name and the year they were inducted, along with an insignia of the Sanford Pentagon, which serves as the home of the Hall of Fame. A replica of the Hall of Fame logo is crafted on the side of the ring while the top stone includes a basketball symbol surrounded by the words ‘South Dakota Hall of Fame’. The person’s full name will be engraved on the inside band of the ring.

     Any member of the Hall of Fame will be proud to own and wear such a meaningful reminder of the day they were inducted. Each ring is meticulously constructed of beautiful, enduring white metal and costs $289.54 including tax.

     Hall of Fame members and their families and friends can order a ring by simply mailing the name to be inscribed, the year inducted, choice of birthstone color, and the desired ring size to SDBBHOF, 2210 W. Pentagon Place, Sioux Falls, SD 57107. The purchaser should include his or her name, mailing address, email address if applicable, and telephone number. Payment can be made via check or by using the PayPal option located on the right side of this website.

     Enshrinement in the Hall of Fame is a great honor. This ring will be a reminder and will become a cherished keepsake.

Return to the 50’s with spring newsletter

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     If you ever find yourself in central Sanborn County, and you feel the urge to shoot some hoops, rest assured that a sturdy cottonwood tree in the town of Forestburg is waiting. In 1950 a 10-year-old boy who loved basketball found a wooden bushel basket that had a metal rim. He nailed it to that tree near his home just a couple blocks northeast of the school. There he and his friends spent countless hours through the following years mastering their shooting skills.

     Nearly 70 years have passed and that tree still stands and the rim is still attached, testimony about a simpler time. Read about life and about basketball in small-town South Dakota during the 50s in the 2019 Spring Newsletter published by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     Our free newsletters are produced twice yearly, in the spring and the fall, with more than 1,100 readers from 34 different states on our mailing list. The 10th edition of the newsletter was mailed May 6. Among other interesting stories is a study of the different methods embraced by South Dakota and its neighboring states in crowning state champions. And a story about a proving ground where South Dakota’s best players gathered to test one another.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2019

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The Class of 2019, from left, front, Alan Nissen, Lindsay Thomas, Megan Mahoney, Henry Park Jr., Scott Beckstrand, Brittany (Knife) Brewer representing the late Freddie Knife and Dave Fischer. Back, Jodi (Pipes) Altenburg, Shannon (Schlagel) Huber, Doug Peterson, Mike Begeman, Kent Furois representing the late Rollie Furois, Cregg Skarin and Joe Walseth representing the late Sox Walseth. Also inducted was the late Lefty Engebritson. (John Simko Photo)

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame held its 10th annual induction ceremony and banquet March 23 at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls. Welcomed into the Hall of Fame before a large and appreciative audience were 15 new members, all elite former players whose impressive credentials rank them among the state’s all-time best.

     Plaques recognizing the Class of 2019 will be displayed in the Hall of Fame area of the Sanford Pentagon.

     Members who will comprise the Class of 2020 will be selected during upcoming months and then announced next winter. The Hall of Fame’s board of directors will soon begin the important process of evaluating nominees. To see a list of the selection criteria, and to download an official nomination form, simply click on Nomination Form on this website.

South Dakota basketball legend dies at 79

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     For 51 years Don Jacobsen was the South Dakota prep basketball career scoring leader. He amassed 2,825 points before graduating from Lake Norden High School in 1957. Jacobsen died Feb. 11 at age 79. He lived in Sioux City, Iowa.

     After his career at Lake Norden ended Jacobsen starred at South Dakota State University. He was chosen to the all-North Central Conference team three times and led the league in scoring when he averaged 23.6 points per game in 1961.

     Jacobsen totaled 1,488 points during his time as a Jackrabbit. He led SDSU to three NCC championships and a third-place finish in the 1961 NCAA College Division National Tournament. He was selected by Syracuse in the NBA Draft.

     A successful coach, Jacobsen spent nine seasons guiding the Red Raiders of Northwestern College (Iowa). He had an overall record of 159-79 at Northwestern and took the Red Raiders to the NAIA National Tournament twice.

     Jacobsen held the state career scoring record for over a half-century until it was broken by Louie Krogman of White River in 2008. Jacobsen was recognized as a charter member of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame. He was inducted in the inaugural Class of 2010. He was also a member of the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Jackrabbit Sports Hall of Fame.

Watertown ’59: Team of Excellence for 2019

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     Because of their outstanding achievements the Watertown Arrows of 1959 were honored by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame as its Team of Excellence for 2019. The Class A champion Arrows were recognized at the Hall of Fame’s 10th annual banquet at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls.

     Watertown was led by 6-foot-8 center Tom McGrann, who became a three-year starter in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Minnesota. The Arrows were coached by Jim Marking. His assistant was Bud Belk. Both later had successful careers at the collegiate level, Marking at South Dakota State University and Belk at North Dakota State University.

     The Arrows had a 20-2 record. They were, from left, kneeling, Coach Marking, Dave Linngren, Pat McGraw, Bob Michaels, Assistant Coach Belk. Standing, Denny Magner, Norm Hellbusch, Carter Reese, Jerry Alexander, Tom Jensen, John Deblon, McGrann, Jerry Heinze, Doug Kluck, Jerry Miller, Doug Peterson and Roger Fox. (Submitted Photo)

Pheasants top Divers in Hall of Fame Game

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     Redfield/Doland’s Pheasants defeated Lake Preston 57-35 in the Hall of Fame Game on Jan. 5 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. The matchup was a re-creation of the first state championship game in South Dakota prep history. That historic game was played in 1912 and was won by Redfield 33-25 at the old Daum Opera House in Huron.

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame hosted the Hall of Fame Game, 107 years after Redfield and the Divers met in 1912, as part of its observance of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Hall of Fame in 2009.

     The Hall of Fame Game was part of the 4th annual Samaritan’s Feet Barefoot Classic, an event presented by Sanford Health. Ten boys games were featured throughout the day. Samaritan’s Feet is a humanitarian aid organization.