Fosness dies at age 85 after a life well lived

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     Gordon Fosness graduated from Presho High School in 1953 and went on to make an indelible mark on South Dakota basketball as a player and coach, then later as an advocate. He was a man of faith who served as a spiritual advisor to many. Fosness died Dec. 15, 2020, in Sioux Falls. He was 85.

     At the time of his Dakota Wesleyan University graduation, Fosness was the Tigers’ career scoring leader. He totaled 1,805 points with a career average of 23.4 points per game. Fosness was chosen all-South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference during each of his four seasons. He was then selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1957 NBA Draft.

     Fosness (shown addressing his players during a timeout in the DWU photo at left) coached at Cavour and Gregory before returning to Wesleyan in 1961. He guided the Tigers for 22 seasons before retiring in 1983. Fosness’ teams won 10 SDIC championships. His career record, in an era when teams played far fewer games than they do today, was 351-195.

     After leaving coaching Fosness accepted the position of Director of Development at Wesleyan. Then from 1988-2000 he was the state director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Fosness was a member of several halls of fame, including the NAIA Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and has served on the organization’s board of directors.

Colleges feature former South Dakota preps

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     With the new basketball season tipping off in a time of uncertainty, which high schools in the state have produced the most players who are currently listed on varsity rosters of the colleges in South Dakota?

     Among the men, Sioux Falls O’Gorman leads with five. Dell Rapids, Harrisburg and Sioux Valley have three each. Knights in action are the Cartwright brothers, Matt at Augustana University and Jack at the University of Sioux Falls, as well as Akoi Akoi at Augustana, Luke Ronsiek at Mount Marty University and Cole Bruhn at Dakota State University.

     Sioux Falls Lincoln has six graduates on women’s teams: Morgan Hansen at the University of South Dakota, Izzy Van Veldhuizen at Augustana, Anna Brecht at USF, Lexi Hochstein at MMU and Sydnaya Dunn and Mya Wilson both at Dakota Wesleyan University. Following the Patriots with three each are Brandon Valley, Hamlin, Harrisburg and Lennox.

     There are 53 men who are former prep players in South Dakota and are now on in-state college rosters. They represent 34 different high schools across the state. Among the women, there are 70 players from 45 high schools.

Iverson, Renowned player and coach, dies at 90

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     Jim Iverson, among the most celebrated figures in South Dakota basketball history, died Oct. 26, 2020, in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was 90. Iverson was a star player at Platte High School and Kansas State, and a championship coach at South Dakota State. He was a charter member of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     After helping Platte to four Class B state tournaments before graduating in 1948, Iverson was a 5-foot-11 guard at Kansas State when the Wildcats lost to Kentucky 68-58 in the national championship game in 1951. The following season, as a senior, he averaged 12.9 points per game and captained Kansas State to a 19-5 record.

     Iverson was chosen by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1952 NBA Draft. But after fulfilling his military obligation he entered coaching. SDSU finished 22-5 and won the NCAA College Division championship under Iverson in 1963. His career record as coach of the Jackrabbits was 142-65. Iverson guided SDSU to championships in the North Central Conference during the 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1963 seasons.

     Iverson later had a career in banking. He was a longtime resident of Sioux Falls before moving to Fort Wayne.

Pandemic plagued S.D. and the world in 1918

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     A little more than 100 years ago the 1918 influenza pandemic took a tragic toll. Often referred to as the Spanish flu, its deadly impact was felt across the globe. In the United States alone an estimated 675,000 lives were lost.

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame has published its 2020 Fall Newsletter. Featured is a comprehensive look at how our state coped during the 1918 pandemic and of South Dakota’s effort to maintain some degree of normalcy by forging ahead with prep basketball and the single-class state tournament.

     Also in the newsletter is a profile of a proud program that battled its way to the threshold of South Dakota basketball glory only to endure far more than a fair share of heartbreaks. Another story in the newsletter remembers an eminent personality whose venerable handprint was visible on our state tournaments for many years.

     The 13th edition of the biannual newsletter was mailed free on Nov. 11 to the more than 1,200 people on our mailing list. They reside in 41 states. All past editions can be accessed in the Newsletter Archives section of this website.

Basketball trailblazer Thune dies at age 100

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     One of South Dakota’s most respected and admired basketball trailblazers, Harold Thune, died Aug. 15, 2020. He had reached the age of 100.

     Thune was a 1937 graduate of Murdo High School. As a senior he led the Coyotes to the school’s first-ever State Class B Tournament. Murdo took second place. The Coyotes defeated Bridgewater and Redfield before falling in the championship game to Doland 32-27. Thune was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

     A member of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s inaugural Class of 2010, he was also inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.

     During his collegiate career Thune was a standout in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Minnesota. He then served as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot in World War II.

     Thune, the father of U.S. Senator John Thune, spent many years in his hometown of Murdo as a businessman and educator. He recently resided in Central City, Neb.

Names of Wood, Cobb still resonate in S.D.

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     During the early stages of high school athletics in South Dakota, two visionary coaches, one in East River and the other in West River, emerged as examples of how to build and sustain premier programs.

     Howard Wood was born in Canada and graduated from Potsdam Normal College (N.Y.). He arrived at Sioux Falls Washington in 1908. Wood coached the Warriors to four state basketball championships and had a career record of 430-141. In football his teams won 17 state titles and went 246-74-16. In track Wood guided SFW to 16 state championships.

     Euclid Cobb was born in Texas and earned a degree from Monmouth College (Ill.). He took over as coach at what would become Rapid City Central in 1920. Cobb’s team won a state basketball title in 1942. In football he had a career record of 144-43-13 while posting seven undefeated seasons: 1922, 1923, 1925, 1927, 1931, 1932 and 1943.

     Wood spent 39 years at Washington and died in 1949. A prominent Sioux Falls stadium, Howard Wood Field, was named in his memory. Cobb died in 1986. The school he served for 41 years gave him the ultimate compliment when in 1934 it used his surname to change its mascot from the Tigers. Since then Central’s teams have been the Cobblers.

Krogman, Young headline 2,000-point clubs

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     Don Jacobsen graduated from Lake Norden High School in 1957 after scoring 2,825 points for the Bluejays. That total reigned as the South Dakota boys career record for 50 years.

     Until Dec. 20, 2007. That night White River star Louie Krogman moved past Jacobsen in a Lakota Nation Invitational game at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

     Krogman (pictured at left in a University of South Dakota photo during his college career) concluded his White River prep career in 2008 with 3,521 points. He leads the list of 44 documented boys who have surpassed the 2,000-point plateau in state history. Jill Young (pictured at right) of Mitchell Christian graduated in 2007 with 3,317 points and leads the 31 girls in the state who have reached 2,000. Young later played at South Dakota State University. Click on ‘Records’ at the top of this website to see both complete lists.

     The first player to reach 2,000 points in South Dakota was Stanton Uhlir in 1951. He notched 2,023 for Kadoka. Nine more boys players surpassed the milestone before the decade of the 1950s came to an end: Jacobsen, Milt Sorenson, Bob Swanhorst, LaMoine Torgerson, Jerry Wingen, Dale Hall, Terry Slattery, Cliff Albee and Phil Miedema. Among girls in the state Robin Anderson of Clear Lake was the first to surpass 2,000. She totaled 2,332 points before graduating in 1980.

40 years ago: loss in OT ended 64-game streak

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     The 1980 Freeman Classic produced one of the most iconic games in the history of high school basketball in South Dakota. A crowd of 7,100 had turned out at the Sioux Falls Arena to watch the Armour Packers attempt to extend their state-record boys winning streak in a marquee matchup against the highly regarded Beresford Watchdogs.

     The Packers of Coach Burnell Glanzer had won 64 consecutive games, in the process claiming Class B state championships in 1978 and 1979. They had broken the record of 61 straight wins set by Arlington in the 1930s.

     Armour was led by a pair of all-state players, 5-foot-11 senior Dan Freidel and 6-2 junior Jeff Tiefenthaler. The Packers were without senior standout Dennis Tiefenthaler, who was sidelined by an injury sustained in football.

     Beresford was built around 6-4 junior all-stater Keith Larson and was coached by Jim Sorenson.

     Through four quarters the teams battled on even terms. Then with only two seconds left in overtime Beresford senior Brian Rick hit a dramatic 20-foot shot to give the Watchdogs a 47-45 victory. The record streak was over.

Championships in ’20 create memories of SDIC

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     From the time it was first chartered in 1917 until it was disbanded in 2000, the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference for 83 years was an NAIA fixture and an important part of the sports landscape in our state.

     The recent 2020 basketball season was especially successful for some former SDIC members as four NCAA Division II regular-season titles were earned. Champions were the Black Hills State University men, the Northern State University men and the University of Sioux Falls men and women. The combined rosters of those teams included 11 players who prepped in South Dakota.

     Black Hills State, which compiled an overall record of 20-9, shared the Rocky Mountain Conference championship with Dixie State (Utah). Both were 17-5 in the league. Northern State won the North Division of the Northern Sun Conference. The Wolves fashioned records of 18-4 in the league and 26-6 overall. USF took both titles in the South Division of the Northern Sun. The Cougar men were 17-5 and 22-8 while the women had records of 17-5 and 26-6.

Newsletter features Native American theme

Written by admin. Posted in Uncategorized

     Throughout the history of basketball in our state – since the sport was first introduced in South Dakota at a summer conference at Big Stone Lake in 1896 – Native American players and teams have excelled with style and with flair.

     The talent of standout players such as Louis Tyon (right) earned the respect of fans across the state. Tyon led the Pine Ridge Thorpes to the Class B state championship in 1962 and then to a runner-up finish in 1963. He was chosen first team all-state both seasons.

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame has published its 2020 Spring Newsletter. Among featured stories are several which recognize the many important contributions to South Dakota basketball made through the years by Native Americans.

     Our 12th biannual newsletter was mailed free on April 23 to the over 1,200 current subscribers who follow the Hall of Fame from 40 states. We publish both spring and fall editions. To read past issues go to Newsletter Archives on the right-hand side of this website.