Women from S.D. had immediate impact in NAIA

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        The very first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics women’s national basketball tournament was held in March of 1981. By then the NAIA had already been crowning a men’s champion each season since 1937, a span covering 44 years.

        There were around 500 schools in the NAIA in 1981. When the inaugural women’s tournament tipped off, the Northern State Wolves were poised to notify the nation about the high quality of players produced by South Dakota high schools.

        Northern was one of eight schools to qualify for the tournament. There were 12 players on the Wolves roster and 11 had been prep standouts in South Dakota. The pre-tourney media guide listed Northern starters as Lori Burkhardt of Yankton, Cathy Coyle of Belle Fourche, Deb Esche of Aberdeen, Janelle Frank of Wolsey and Wendy Swanhorst of Cresbard. Burkhardt was the leading scorer at 17.3 points per game.

        The Wolves were coached by Curt Fredrickson (right) and beat Missouri Western in the quarterfinals at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. In the semifinal round Texas Southern topped Northern. The Wolves then defeated Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 74-65 in the third-place game to end 28-4.

        By 1992 the NAIA had split from one class into Division I for the larger schools and Division II for the smaller. It reverted back to one class in 2021. During the two-class era Fredrickson and his Wolves emerged as the first dominant team in Division II, winning national titles in 1992 and 1994. Fredrickson was an all-state basketball and football player at Aberdeen Central. A graduate of Northern, he coached the Wolves for 39 seasons with an overall record of 846-306.

Legends speak in the pages of ‘First Person’

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     For more than forty years Mike Henriksen has been one of the grand storytellers of all aspects of sports in South Dakota.

     Known for his sincerity and measured demeanor, Henriksen has earned widespread admiration because of a thoughtful and reasoned approach to broadcasting. His radio presence since 1978 has connected listeners with many popular programs including Sportsmax, South Dakota Sports History, and Calling All Sports.

     Henriksen (shown in submitted photo) lives in Harrisburg and is a native of Hampton, Neb. He has turned some of his most memorable radio interviews into two entertaining books. The first was published in 2018. The second book, First Person: Legendary South Dakota Sports Stories Volume 2, is new and is now available for purchase.

     There are 13 different segments in the book. Each recreates a Henriksen long-form interview with a different South Dakota sports luminary. Included are well-known basketball personalities Garney Henley, Chad Lavin, Terry Slattery, Marv McCune, Larry Luitjens, Gordie Fosness and Carl Pierson.

    The book would be a welcome addition to the library of anyone who follows sports in South Dakota. Copies can be ordered online at www.sportsmaxradio.com. Cost is $23 which includes tax and shipping. Copies also can be purchased at book signings now being held throughout the region. To view locations follow Henriksen on facebook and twitter.

Reflecting on the importance of coaches

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     Throughout the storied history of high school basketball in South Dakota there have been many, many exceptional coaches. The influence those coaches impart on young athletes often can be life-changing. Lessons learned about qualities such as character, integrity and sportsmanship can endure long after playing careers have ended.

     A story examining the importance of coaches is featured in the 2022 Fall Newsletter by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame which was mailed Oct. 27. Profiled is the late George Houk (right), who compiled an unprecedented record while stressing positive values which helped his players on their journeys toward adulthood.

     The 17th edition of the newsletter also includes several other interesting stories. One is about a town whose pride in the accomplishments of its two high school teams was recognized across the state. Another remembers a championship won by a team with uncommon physical prowess. Also in the newsletter is a story about a game in which four players combined to keep the scoreboard numbers constantly changing.

     Two free newsletters are published yearly by the Hall of Fame, in the spring and in the fall. To be included on the mailing list simply click on Viewpoint at the top of this website and provide us with your name and your address.

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.

Brookings ’85: Team of Excellence for 2022

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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 https://sdbbhof.touchpros.com.

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.