These are the best of the "normal" forwards. Nowadays we call them "small forwards," and that's about right. What it really means to me is guys who really really played forward in high school, as opposed to the many many guys who played center in high school then moved over to the forward later in their careers.
From the beginning in basketball through the advent of the low post, the forwards were the designated scorers in basketball, like the forwards or wings in ice hockey. (See Harold Gillen 1914, Martin Norton 1921 or Bennie Lichtenegger 1926.) When the low post became popular, the center became the top scorer. But a middle-sized kid with good athletic skills (can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim) and/or a good outside shot (see Tony Jaros 1940, Dave Tschimperle 1953 or Tom Nordland 1957) would still have a chance to be a star right up to the present day. (See Shane Schilling 1999, Isaiah Dahlman 2006 or Joe Coleman 2011).
Top 20 State Tournament Forwards
1. Dave Tschimperle, Hopkins 1951-52-53. Led the Royals to 8 wins in 9 tournament games, good for a 5th and 2 1sts. Led the 1951 and 1953 tournaments in scoring. Only the 2nd boy ever to make all-tournament 3 times.
2. Isaiah Dahlman, Braham 2004-05-06. Broke Joel McDonald's all-time scoring record, and came within 2 points of Khalid El-Amin's tournament career record. Oh, and won 3 Class AA titles.
3. Martin Norton, Mpls. Central 1921. Led Central to the 1921 title, scoring a record 77 points and setting FT records that stood for more than 85 years until they were broken by Cody Schilling. In 1963 Halsey Hall still had Norton on his all-time tournament 5. The previous year, in 1920, Central had taken 3rd place in the national tournament and Norton was named all-American.
4. Bob Bruggers, Danube 1961-62. Scored 2,364 career points, #2 at the time. Also led Danube to 2 tournaments, narrowly missing a big upset of St. Louis Park in a 1962 semi. Park won 66-62 as Bruggers made just 10-of-23 FT.
5. Tom Nordland, Mpls. Roosevelt 1956-57. Helped Roosevelt to 2 titles, the 1st in a record 101-54 rout of Blue Earth in 1956. He was regarded as the best jump shooter the tournament had ever seen, scoring 84 points in 1957.
6. Johnny Dick, Buhl 1935-36. Led Buhl to the 1935 and '36 tournaments, including a huge upset of Mpls. Edison in 1936 en route to 3rd place. Dick was regarded as one of the great players to play in the tournament to that time.
7. Arvesta Kelly, Cretin-Derham Hall 1991-92-93. Led the Raiders to 3 straight title games where they won in '91 and '93. Kelly led the 1992 tournament in scoring with 67 points.
8. Tom Mulso, Sherburn 1970. Electrified the 1970 tournament with 83 total points and a surprise state championship for the Cinderella team from southern Minnesota. Scored a career total of 1,126.
9. Bennie Lichtenegger, Gaylor 1926. The prototype of the small town Cinderella was Gaylord in 1926, and Lichtenegger led all scorers in all 3 games for a total of 34.
10. Shane Schilling, Minnetonka 1998-99. Led the Skippers to 2 title games, a championship in 1998 and a 2nd place finish behind Mounds View in 1999. Led all scorers in 4 of 6 tournament games.
11. Joel McDonald, Chisholm 1991. Set a career scoring record of 3,292 points, and led the Bluestreaks to the 1991 Class A title, leading all scorers with 86 points. Later became Minnesota's all-time leading small college scorer at St. Cloud State.
12. John Klarich, Buhl 1941-42. Helped Buhl to the 2nd repeat state championships to that time. Led all scorers in all 3 1942 games for a total of 49 points.
13. Joe Coleman, Hopkins 2011. Led the Royals to the 2010 and 2011 Class AAAA titles.
14. John Beyer, Luverne 1964-65. Led the Cardinals to the 1964 state title and to 4th place in 1965.
15. Larry Ogden, White Bear Lake 1984-85. Helped White Bear to the 1984 and 1985 titles, the Bears finishing with an unbeaten season in both cases.
16. Harold Gillen, Stillwater 1913-14. Led Stillwater to the 1914 state title, and went on to win all-America honors as a Minnesota Gopher.
17. Aaron Middendorf, Caledonia 1997. Led Caledonia to the 1997 Class AA title, scoring 45 points in a final game win over DeLaSalle.
18. Darius Lane, Totino-Grace 1998. Scored 2,197 career points, including a tournament-high of 88 points in 1998.
19. Brian Grohnke, Edina 1964. Led all scorers in 1964 with 87 points, the most to that time by a player other than a center/post, as Edina took 3rd place.
20. Jay Kiedrowski, Edina 1966-67. Helped Edina to its 1st 2 out of 3 titles in 1966-67.
Top 20 Forwards Overall
1. Norm Grow, Foley 1958. Finished his high school career as the all-time leading scorer with 2,852 points, a record that stood for 34 years, and as the #1 rebounder with 1,417, a record that stood for 49 years.
2. Isaiah Dahlman, Braham 2006. See #2 above.
3. Martin Norton, Mpls. Central 1921. See #3 above.
4. Dave Tschimperle, Hopkins 1953. See #1 above.
5. Sam Jacobson, Park 1994. Scored a total of 2,461 points in his career and later helped the Minnesota Gophers to the Final Four.
6. Bob Bruggers, Danube 1962. See #4 above.
7. Joel McDonald, Chisholm 1991. See #11 above.
8. Tom Nordland, Mpls. Roosevelt 1957. See #5 above.
9. Harold Gillen, Stillwater 1914. See #16 above.
10. Tony Jaros, Mpls. Edison 1940. Broke all Minneapolis Conference scoring records as a senior in 1940. Voted Minnesota Gopher player of the decade for the 1940s, and also played for the Minneapolis Lakers.
11. Don "Swede" Carlson, Mpls. Edison 1938. Helped Edison to the 1937 state title, which team was regarded as the best ever in the state to that time. Played for the Minnesota Gophers and Minneapolis Lakers.
12. Johnny Dick, Buhl 1942. See #6 above.
13. Joe Coleman, Hopkins 2011. See #13 above.
14. Tom Mulso, Sherburn 1970. See #8 above.
15. Bennie Lichtenegger, Gaylord 1927. See #9 above.
16. Cory Johnson, Duluth East 2006. Scored 2,960 career points, and led East to 2nd place in Class AAA in 2006.
17. Shane Schilling, Minnetonka 1999. See #10 above.
18. John Kundla, Mpls. Central 1935. Went on to lead the Minnesota Gophers to the 1937 Big 10 title.
19. Omar Larson, Granite Falls 1953. Scored 1,401 career points, and was described by Kundla as the best jump shooter of his time.
20. Jim Akason, Halstad 1952. Scored 1,640 points and retired as the #1 scorer to that time. Led Halstad to 3rd place in the 1952 tournament.