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The Hall of Fame Class of 2022

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        A crowd of more than 400 attended the 12th annual banquet of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday. Fourteen new members were inducted into the Hall of Fame during the ceremony at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls. They bring membership to 185. Bios of all Hall of Fame members can be found on this website.

        The Class of 2022 is pictured above at the banquet. From left, front, Eunice Gillam representing the late Delbert Gillam, Clyde Olsen, Tom Rops, Laurie (Bruns) Kruse and Dawn (Hull) Zahn. Back, Sherri Brende, Gene Vognild representing the late Milton Sorenson, Lisa (Kannegieter) Bahe, Gordie Groos, Matt Martin, Jeff Booher, Harley Zephier Jr., John Duffy representing the late Bernard Duffy, and Wayne Thue. (John Simko Photo)

        Plaques recognizing the Class of 2022 will be displayed in the Hall of Fame area of the Sanford Pentagon.

        The Hall of Fame’s board of directors is already involved in the important process of evaluating nominees for next year’s group of inductees. Those selected for induction in the Class of 2023 will be announced in May. To see a list of the selection criteria, and to download an official nomination form, click on Nomination Form on this website.

Hall of Fame salutes ’85 Brookings Bobcats

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        The impression made by the Brookings High School girls basketball team in 1985 extended far beyond the borders of South Dakota. In its ratings USA Today noted the talent of the Bobcats by ranking them at No. 3 nationally.

        Brookings won the Class AA state championship. The Bobcats defeated Yankton 45-29 in the title game. That capped a 23-0 season and extended the Brookings undefeated streak to 48 games spanning over three years.

        In recognition of their achievements the 1985 Bobcats, who were guided by USA Today national coach of the year Jim Holwerda, are being recognized by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame as its Team of Excellence for 2022. They will be honored during the 12th annual SDBBHOF induction banquet which will be held Aug. 27 at the Ramkota Hotel in northwest Sioux Falls.

        Brookings was paced by a trio of first team all-state seniors: Paula Kenefick, Amy Mickelson and Renae Sallquist. The 1985 Bobcats were, from left, front, manager Maree Larson, Kenefick, Mickelson, Jennifer Gee. Middle, manager Jacque Lenz, Valerie Krier, Stacey Koenders, Holwerda. Back, Lisa Rollag, Laura Martin, Sallquist, Beth Lingren, Barb Johnson, Vanessa Larson, Kathy McDonald, Stacey Grorud and assistant coach Paul Johnson. (Submitted Photo)

Hall of Fame will induct 14 in Class of 2022

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     Fourteen former players who had exceptional careers in the state will be inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2022.

     Standouts from seven different decades are represented. The graduation years of the inductees range from 1947 to 2004. The 12th annual induction banquet will be held on the afternoon of Aug. 27 at the Ramkota Hotel located in northwest Sioux Falls. Ticket information will be announced soon on this website.

     Six members of the Class of 2022 helped their team win a state championship. One of those, Sherri Brende (at right in submitted photo), was part of two state titles, leading Baltic to Class B girls championships during both the 1995 and 1996 seasons.

     During the banquet the Brookings girls team of 1985 will be honored by the Hall of Fame as a Team of Excellence. Jim Holwerda coached the Bobcats, who were ranked No. 3 nationally by USA Today. He was recognized by USA Today as the National Coach of the Year. Brookings was the Class AA champion and achieved a 23-0 record to extend its unbeaten streak to 48 games.

     The Class of 2022:

     LISA (KANNEGIETER) BAHE, Brookings (Willow Lake 1990): Bahe was Miss Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year in South Dakota as a senior at Willow Lake when she averaged 19.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. She had 1,303 career points for the Pirates. Bahe was an all-North Central Conference player at South Dakota State with 1,130 points.

     JEFF BOOHER, Lincoln, Neb. (Brookings 1988): Brookings was 53-15 in Booher’s three seasons and won the Class AA state title in 1987. The Bobcats finished second in 1986 and third in 1988. Booher was Naismith Player of the Year in South Dakota as a senior. He had 1,018 career points at South Dakota State and was chosen to the all-NCC team.

     SHERRI BRENDE, Iowa City, Iowa (Baltic 1997): Miss Basketball and USA Today Player of the Year in South Dakota as a senior, Brende led Baltic to Class B state titles in 1995 and 1996 while scoring 1,886 career points. The Bulldogs were 24-1 during each of those seasons. Brende was all-NCC three years and totaled 1,444 points at South Dakota State.

     BERNARD DUFFY (Fort Pierre 1947): The late Duffy led Fort Pierre to a three-year record of 64-7. The Buffaloes had never won a district championship until Duffy paced them to District 16 titles in 1946 and 1947. He was among the state’s earliest practitioners of the one-handed jump shot and was an outstanding player at Sioux Falls College.

     DELBERT GILLAM (Argonne 1953): The late Gillam was an explosive scorer who averaged 25.9 points per game during his senior season at Argonne. He made South Dakota high school basketball history when he set the state single-game scoring record of 72 points during a game against Canova which was played in Argonne on Feb. 10, 1953.

     GORDIE GROOS, Sisseton (Sisseton 1966): An outstanding two-sport athlete, Groos averaged 20 points and 17 rebounds per game during his senior season at Sisseton. While at Northern State he was a four-year starter in basketball with 1,002 career points. In football Groos was an NAIA All-American defensive tackle for the Wolves.

     LAURIE (BRUNS) KRUSE, Lennox (Lennox 1987): At the time of her graduation Kruse held Lennox career records of 1,073 points and 633 rebounds. She shot 54 percent from the field for her career. Kruse scored 1,370 points at South Dakota State. She led the NCC in scoring with 23.5 points per game in 1991 and was chosen league MVP.

     MATT MARTIN, Sioux Falls (Spearfish 2004): Martin was all-state three years and led Spearfish to a 23-1 record and Class AA state title in 2002. He had 1,602 career points and was Gatorade Player of the Year in South Dakota in 2004. Martin was a four-year starter at the University of Montana where he totaled 1,021 points and 312 assists.

     CLYDE OLSEN, Plankinton (Plankinton 1956): Plankinton finished fourth in the Class B state tourney in 1956 as Olsen netted 84 points, including 29 in the quarterfinals and a record 40 in the semifinals. He shot 90 percent on free throws that season, at one stage making 33 in a row without a miss, and ended his career with 1,335 points.

     TOM ROPS, Luverne, Minn. (Lennox 1992): Rops and the Orioles won the Class A state title in 1991 and finished with an unbeaten record of 24-0. Custer topped Lennox in the title game in 1992 despite 30 points from Rops. That season the Orioles were 22-2. Rops was an all-NCC player at South Dakota State and totaled 1,147 points.

     MILTON SORENSON (Wakonda 1953): The late Sorenson joined the Wakonda varsity as an eighth-grader. He went on to score 2,480 points for the Warriors and still ranks among the state’s all-time career scoring leaders. After graduation Sorenson served in the U.S. Army and then he returned to South Dakota to play collegiately at Southern State.

     WAYNE THUE, Hayti (Hayti 1960): Thue led Hayti to a No. 1 ranking in the Class B poll and a 28-2 record in 1960. The Redbirds were a combined 47-6 in his final two seasons. Known as an outstanding defensive player, Thue was chosen all-South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference three times and scored 1,404 career points at Dakota Wesleyan.

     DAWN (HULL) ZAHN, Sioux Falls (Sisseton 1992): A 1,267-point career scorer, Zahn led Sisseton to the Class A state championship in 1990. That season Sisseton compiled a 23-2 record. Zahn averaged 22 points per game as both a junior and senior. She earned all-NCC honors while at South Dakota State where she totaled 1,125 points.

     HARLEY ZEPHIER JR., Dupree (Aberdeen Roncalli 1975): Zephier made his third appearance on an all-state team in 1975 when Aberdeen Roncalli won the Class A state championship and finished with a 23-2 record. He averaged double figures in scoring during each of his four seasons, including 28 points per game as a junior at Northwestern.

Newsletter recognizes some eminent defenders

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     There are players who can alter the course of a game through their sheer will and tenacity. They are the elite defenders. Learn about some of the best defensive stoppers our state has produced in the 2022 Spring Newsletter that has been published by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     Another story in the free newsletter relates how a friendship in the U.S. Army influenced the career direction of one of South Dakota’s premier 1940s players, Dick Black (shown at right), and steered him towards great things in Michigan.

     Also in the newsletter is a look at a player who starred as a prep and collegian in South Dakota before taking an unconventional route to a long and distinguished coaching career at the college level. And in another of the stories in the newsletter the Hall of Fame asks our readers to share their memories about the most adept and creative high school passers they have ever seen perform in the state.

     The newsletter was mailed April 28 to those on our mailing list. It is the 16th edition. The first biannual newsletter was published in 2014. To be included on the mailing list simply click on Viewpoint and provide us with your name and address.

Kiosk is new source to learn about Hall of Fame

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        Visitors to the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls now have available at their fingertips an abundance of information about the greatest players and the most accomplished teams to ever perform on the basketball courts of our state.

        The new South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame touchscreen kiosk offers an in-depth inside view of our organization. The kiosk is mounted on a wall which is located near the northwest entry door of the Pentagon.

        Available to the public and easy to operate, the kiosk opens a window to a surplus of historical data. Content includes biographies and photos of all Hall of Fame inductees, capsule overviews of the Teams of Excellence, a register of state championship teams, and more. The kiosk can also be accessed remotely at

First girls stars in state lit up the early years

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     Girls basketball tipped off in South Dakota in 1975 and within the first dozen years several elite prospects emerged. Their high profile helped make the state a common destination for NCAA Division I coaches searching for talent.

     Yankton and Clear Lake drew heavy attention from recruiters during the 1979 season because of the presence of Diane Hiemstra, Lisa Van Goor and Robin Anderson. Van Goor chose the University of Colorado. Hiemstra spent a season at the University of Oregon before joining her former Yankton teammate at Colorado. Clear Lake star Anderson signed with the University of Iowa. Van Goor, Hiemstra and Anderson all became exceptional major college players. So did Kris Holwerda. She finished her Brookings career in 1980 and then teamed with Van Goor and Hiemstra at Colorado.

     The makeup of the Buffaloes in 1982, shown in the CU photo above, had a distinct South Dakota influence because of the head coach and three important players. Colorado posted a 28-8 record that season under Sox Walseth, standing at right. The late Walseth, who was a Pierre native, relied heavily upon Van Goor (25), Hiemstra (12) and Holwerda (23). Walseth, Hiemstra, Van Goor and Holwerda are all members of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     Brookings had a team which was so gifted in 1985 that it sent three of its players on to excel at Division I programs. The Bobcats climbed as high as No. 3 in the nation in the USA TODAY girls basketball rankings that season. Amy Mickelson went on to become a standout at the University of Washington, Renae Sallquist at Vanderbilt University and Paula Kenefick at Yale University. Mickelson and Sallquist have been inducted into the SDBBHOF as has Anderson.

     Steph Schueler capped her Sioux Falls Lincoln career in 1986. Her next stop was Iowa where she had an impressive career with the Hawkeyes. After the standouts from the first dozen years showed the way, a number of other South Dakota girls have gone on to the bright lights of Division I basketball. Included are many who have played at South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota since their transition from Division II to Division I.

Greatness of the ’72 Rustlers still resonates

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     On a winter night, 50 years ago, the Miller Rustlers met Britton’s Braves in a regular-season basketball game. At the time it was viewed as simply a matchup between two good teams that each had great potential. But the game turned out to be more meaningful than that.

     Miller trailed late but rallied to edge the Braves 66-63. It was a rare game in South Dakota history in which the eventual Class A state champion faced the eventual Class B state champion. And without the hard-earned victory the famed Cinderella season of the Rustlers in 1972 would not have been accomplished with an undefeated record.

     Bob Dockter was coach of the Rustlers. A native of Cresbard, he was only 28. Years later he acknowledged that Miller’s victory over Britton was a pivotal moment in what turned out to be a magical season for the Rustlers. The Braves of Coach John Bruce had went on to rule Class B, defeating Wessington 81-60 in the championship game.

     Miller had an enrollment of 375 students and was the smallest school in Class A. That contributed to widespread crowd support at the state tournament as the Rustlers beat big schools Sioux Falls Washington, Rapid City Stevens and Yankton to finish 24-0. Dockter relied heavily on Rick Nissen, Kim Templeton and Jeff Wilber. Nissen went on to become an all-time great at the University of South Dakota while Templeton did the same at Black Hills State. Wilber became a starter at Augustana. Templeton and Nissen are members of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     In the championship game Templeton had 21 points and Nissen 17 as the Rustlers, with Dan Gerdes their tallest player at 6-foot-3, beat Yankton 68-54 at the Sioux Falls Arena. The Bucks were led by their 6-11 sophomore star Chad Nelson with 21 points. A statewide group of basketball experts were on a panel assembled by the Argus Leader in 1988 to determine the greatest team in South Dakota history (Top 5 above). Miller of 1972 was the solid choice as No. 1.

Major college coaches were prep stars in S.D.

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     In the 1990s there were two players excelling on high school basketball courts in South Dakota who were destined to become coaches and fulfill major roles in the realm of big-time collegiate football. Kalen DeBoer is now head coach at the University of Washington and Josh Heupel at the University of Tennessee.

     DeBoer was a three-year basketball standout at Milbank. As an all-state junior he scored 17 points per game and led the Bulldogs to a 15-9 record and an appearance in the State Class A Tournament. Then during his 1993 senior season DeBoer paced Milbank to a 16-5 record.

     Also a talented football player, DeBoer became a University of Sioux Falls star as a receiver with 234 total receptions for 3,400 yards and 33 touchdowns. His head coaching career includes a 67-3 record at USF with NAIA national titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009. DeBoer was coach at Fresno State (shown at right in an FSU photo), guiding the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record this season, before accepting the position at Washington of the Pac-12 Conference on Nov. 29.

     Heupel was also a three-year prep basketball standout. He helped Aberdeen Central to three consecutive trips to the State Class AA Tournament in 1994, 1995 and 1996. The all-Eastern South Dakota Conference player was instrumental in the Golden Eagles going 18-6 during his junior season and 19-3 with an ESD title when he was a senior in 1996.

     As a senior quarterback Heupel led Oklahoma to a 13-0 record and national title in 2000. In two seasons with the Sooners he threw for 7,456 yards and 53 touchdowns. Heupel finished second in Heisman Trophy voting in 2000 behind Chris Weinke of Florida State. Heupel directs a Tennessee program in the Southeastern Conference that was 7-6 this season. The Volunteers’ home field is Neyland Stadium, fifth largest facility in the country with a capacity of 102,455.

Wachs, Fosness put trust, faith in S.D. talent

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     Eight hundred eighty-three. That’s how many college basketball wins were achieved in the combined coaching careers of longtime rivals Bob Wachs and Gordon Fosness. Both found great success while concentrating their recruiting primarily on players from South Dakota. The late Wachs led Northern State for 30 seasons from 1956-85. His overall record was 532-286. The late Fosness guided Dakota Wesleyan for 22 seasons, from 1962-83, with a career record of 351-195. Wachs and Fosness each won 10 championships in the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference.

     The reliance of Wachs and Fosness on in-state talent was on full display when their teams met 50 years ago last Feb. 27 at the Aberdeen Civic Arena. It was the 1971 NAIA District 12 playoffs and all 10 starters in the game were former South Dakota preps. So were the four other players, two Wolves and two Tigers, who saw time off the bench.

     Dennis Smith (Glenham), Gary Evjen (Sioux Falls Washington), Rich Andrzejewski (Arlington), Bill Luther (Sioux Falls Washington) and Rhys Schmidt (Pierre) were in the Northern lineup. Also seeing action for the Wolves were Tim Davies (Aberdeen Roncalli) and Les Hinds (Aberdeen Roncalli). Wesleyan starters were Tom Miller (Stickney), Jim Hall (Spencer), Jim Martin (Chamberlain), Mike Mebius (Wessington Springs) and Greg Hansen (Hurley). The Tigers also got minutes during the game from Harvey Fridley (Mount Vernon) and Steve Withorne (Rapid City Central).

     Northern won 92-91 in one of the most memorable games in the long-running rivalry. Luther hit a 15-foot shot with two seconds left for the winning margin. Hall’s desperation shot from midcourt bounced off the rim as the final horn sounded. The Wolves went on to the NAIA National Tournament where they defeated Illinois Wesleyan 88-76 before losing to Stephen F. Austin (Texas) 99-62. DWU was SDIC champion that season at 10-2 with the Wolves second at 9-3.

Fall newsletter brings the past back into focus

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     Traveling from city to city, state to state, the All American Red Heads was a touring basketball team that entertained crowds across the United States for a half-century from 1936 to 1986. Each year the team covered thousands of miles.

     One of the more acclaimed players to ever suit up for the Red Heads was a talented young woman from South Dakota. She and her Red Heads teammates made a significant contribution to the evolution of women’s sports in our country. Learn about her in the 2021 Fall Newsletter of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     Among other featured stories is a look at a player with roots in South Dakota who moved from the state and became a national record holder with a career unsurpassed by any other prep in the history of high school basketball in America.

     The free newsletter was mailed Oct. 29 to the more than 1,350 people on our mailing list.