Newsletter recounts tragedy, town’s sorrow

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     How does a community cope in the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy? Read in our 2018 Fall Newsletter about how a town and its high school basketball team found the strength and the resolve to carry on through the most trying of circumstances.

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame publishes two newsletters each year. The ninth edition was sent Nov. 14 to the nearly 1,100 people from 34 states who are currently on our mailing list. All of our newsletters can also be read on this website.

     Readers also learn about the importance of a gymnasium that was a product of civic pride and became much more than simply a place to play basketball ..… About the 1954 Deadwood Bears (shown above), a team that proved the experts wrong ….. And about the trailblazer in girls basketball whose many accomplishments made South Dakota feel proud. (DHS Photo)

Tour opens doorway to basketball history

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           All basketball enthusiasts are encouraged to visit the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls and take time to inspect the varied historical displays which are presented there by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

     Our primary exhibit area is located on the ground floor near the Pentagon’s main entrance. Additional items of interest are positioned along the corridors of the second floor. Tours also include a stop in the memorabilia-filled Hall of Fame Room 2110, where in the photo above SDBBHOF President Bob Swanhorst conducts a recent group tour.

     If your school, church, civic or social group would like a free tour guided by a Hall of Fame official, or if you wish to schedule a presentation by a member of the Hall of Fame speaker’s bureau who will come to address your group, contact Executive Director Dave Wagner by email at or by telephone at 605-467-3010.

     We invite you to learn more about the state’s basketball heritage and the Hall of Fame. (SDBBHOF Photo)

508-game winner steps back into coaching

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     Eleven state championships and a total of 508 victories. That is what Parker native Kelly Flynn (left) achieved during the 27 years he guided the girls team at South Sioux City, Neb. Then he left the sideline, stepping away from coaching following the 2011 season.

     Flynn returns to the Nebraska basketball scene this year. He is the new girls coach at Fremont High School, which is located about 35 miles northwest of Omaha.

     A University of South Dakota graduate, Flynn was an all-state player as a Parker senior in 1976. During his career with the Pheasants he played for legendary coach Gayle Hoover.

     Flynn led South Sioux City to 16 appearances in the Class B state tourney. His overall record with the Cardinals was 508-128. Among the 11 state championships were six consecutive from 2000 through 2005. Flynn’s team during 2001 was ranked No. 1 in the country by USA TODAY.

National Records reveal S.D. presence

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     Mitchell native John Gillis (right) is in his 30th year with the National Federation of State High School Associations located in Indianapolis. The graduate of the University of South Dakota serves as associate director of development. He formally was editor of the organization’s National High School Sports Record Book which recognizes several South Dakotans.

     According to the basketball section of the 2018 edition of the record book, Jenny Bridge of Hanson is the national record holder in girls career 3-point accuracy. She converted 49.7 percent of her attempts, 266-for-535, before graduating in 2003. Bridge also has the sixth best season 3-point mark of 51.4 percent in 2002 as well as the 10th best of 50.4 percent in 2001.

     Second in both career field goal accuracy and season field goal accuracy is Mandy Koupal of Wagner. She made 758 of 1,097 attempts for 69.1 percent between 1995-98. In the 1998 season she was 223-for-292 for 76.4 percent. She also ranks fourth at 75.3 percent during the 1997 season. Jennifer DeGroot of Ipswich is listed 15th in consecutive free throws. She netted 43 in a row in 1995.

     South Dakota boys in the record book are Kent Hyde of Onida, Tucker Hansen of Sioux Falls O’Gorman and West Central, Dave Lemaster of Howard and Bob Jacobson of Letcher. Hyde ranks fourth in season scoring at 50.4 points per game in 1954. Hansen is 12th in career free throw accuracy at 88.4 percent on 297-for-336 from 1995-98. Lemaster and Jacobson are tied for 10th in single-game rebounds with 47, achieved by Lemaster during 1961 and Jacobson in 1976.

New basketball book has local elements

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     Two members of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame – Jim Iverson and Chris Divich – are included in the new book ‘Kansas Basketball: The Evolution of Basketball in the Nation’s Heartland’.

     Platte native Iverson is mentioned as a starting guard on the Kansas State University team that fell to Kentucky 68-58 in the NCAA championship game in 1951. Iverson was a junior who averaged 8.9 points per game for the Wildcats.

     The book’s author, Jerry Draney, was a Kansas State teammate of Doland product Divich in 1953 before Divich transferred to play for the University of Kansas. Divich wrote an endorsement of the book on its back cover.

     Not only about Kansas high school and college basketball, the book also provides an analysis of the history of the game. Featured prominently is James Naismith, the inventor of basketball who became the first coach at KU in 1898. The hard-cover book was published by Mascot Books in Fairfax, Va., and will be available in bookstores soon for $19.95.

Hall of Fame Game recreates 1912 classic

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     Huron College sponsored the championship trophy that was presented to the winner of the first state tournament in South Dakota basketball history. In the terminology of the day, the trophy was called a Silver Loving Cup. It is pictured at right and has the inscription: ‘South Dakota High School Basketball Championship 1912.’

     In commemoration of the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s 10th anniversary in 2019, the organization will host a special Hall of Fame Game to be played Jan. 5 at the Sanford Pentagon.

     The Hall of Fame Game will match the two opposing teams, the Redfield/Doland Pheasants and Lake Preston Divers, which met in the inaugural finals 106 years ago at the old Daum Opera House in Huron.

     Redfield, which at the time was called the Redmen, defeated Lake Preston 33-25 to claim that first championship. The tournament was so widely popular that it started an enduring tradition that quickly became a staple in South Dakota sports. (RHS Photo)

Join us for a study of the state tournament

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The O’Farrell twins, Presley (35) and Logan, were standouts for Summit and the Augustana University Vikings. (Jergens Photography Photo)

     South Dakota was introduced to state high school basketball tournaments in 1912. The first such event was understandably a rousing success. The eight participants were Arlington, Centerville, Lake Preston, Madison, Miller, Pierre, Redfield and Salem. In the championship game Redfield defeated Lake Preston 33-25.

     The South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame has published its 2018 Spring Newsletter. It was mailed May 3. On the cover of the free newsletter is an introspective story that closely examines how the popular state tournament has changed through the decades and the reasons and causes behind those changes.

     Our readers will also learn about some unique aspects of the gymnasiums that dotted the state’s landscape in the 1950s.

     Nearly every school in the state, at least once in its basketball history, has featured a set of talented twins. Some of those standouts have also went on to outstanding collegiate careers in South Dakota. Our newsletter will reflect on some of the best.

     We publish two newsletters each year, in the spring and the fall. We mail copies to more than 1,000 readers across the nation.

The Hall of Fame Class of 2018

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The Class of 2018, from left, front, Frank Brost, Lisa (Kurtenbach) Glanzer, Jared Reiner, Mandy Kappel, Harvey Schaefer. Back, Howard Bich, Dona Ray-Reed, Cary Hornaman, Misty Tyon representing her father Louis Tyon, and Tom Diefendorf representing his late father John Diefendorf. Also inducted were John Bertolero, Chad Greenway and the late Dick Baun. (John Simko Photo)           To read Class of 2018 bios click on Inductees

     The largest crowd in the nine-year history of the induction banquet welcomed 13 new members into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame on March 24 at the Ramkota Hotel Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls.

     Former stalwart players who comprise the Class of 2018 came from high schools located across the state. They represent six different decades including the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 2000s.

     The Hall of Fame board of directors will soon begin the important process of evaluating nominees for the Class of 2019. To see selection criteria, and to download an official nomination form, click on Nomination Form.

Tripp ’67: Team of Excellence for 2018

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      The undefeated Tripp High School Wildcats dominated Class B basketball during the 1967 season. The Wildcats marched past Herreid 72-46 in the championship game of the state tournament that was held at the Sioux Falls Arena.

     Tripp finished the season with an impressive 28-0 overall record. Because of their outstanding accomplishments the Wildcats were recognized by the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame as its Team of Excellence for 2018.

     The ninth annual Hall of Fame banquet was held March 24 at the Ramkota Hotel Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls. Inducted were 13 former greats from across the state. During the banquet the 1967 Wildcats were honored.

     Jim Flevares was coach of the Wildcats. From left, front, Mike Freier, Leon Reiner, Dick Prien, Jerry Stoebner, Gene Wilson, Bill Fischer. Back, Assistant Coach Larry Oldewurtel, manager Larry Maag, manager Lon Mayer, Al Schnabel, Dennis Dewald, Allen Schnabel, George Ewing, Steve Brosz, Bill Bittner and Coach Flevares. (Submitted Photo)

Hall of Fame display honors legendary duo

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     The names Russell “Sox” Walseth and Jim Iverson resonate with everyone who has ever followed basketball in South Dakota.

     Among the greatest players and most accomplished coaches in state history, Walseth (left) and Iverson (right) are being recognized in a new display that has been added to the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame at the Sanford Pentagon.

     Walseth was a four-year starter at Pierre and led the Governors to the Class A state championship as a senior in 1944. He was then a starting guard for the University of Colorado. He coached South Dakota State University from 1954-56, compiling a 31-18 record, before returning to Colorado. As coach of the men’s team for 20 seasons, Walseth guided the Buffaloes to three Big Eight Conference championships and was named Coach of the Year in the Big Eight five times. He also served three successful seasons as coach of the Colorado women’s team.

     Iverson played in four consecutive Class B state tournaments before graduating from Platte in 1948. He scored a record 251 career points in state-tournament play. While at Kansas State University, he was a starting guard for the Wildcats. Iverson coached South Dakota State to the NCAA College Division national championship in 1963. His career record while at SDSU was 142-65 and his Jackrabbits won the North Central Conference championship five times.