Tuesday, September 4, 2012

25-50-75 Years Ago

The times they area-changin'. Looking back on Minnesota basketball, and basketball in general, from 2012-2013, well, change is what it's all about.

In 1938, the center jump after every basket had just been abolished. You could no longer aspire to control the ball throughout the game and to shut out your opponents. From now on, you'd have to score some points.

In 1963, the solution to scoring some points came down to the low post, the "J" and the fast break.

By 1988, the 3-point shot was in place, though the modern transition game hadn't yet been fully formed. Meanwhile, girls and women's ball continued to gather steam.


The center jump was gone but that's not to say anybody had figured out what it meant. What I wrote above, well, that's the way things went over the next, well, 25 years, by which time the low post, the "J" and the fast break were in place.

In 1938 a lot of teams went about business as usual. The Minnesota Gophers under coach Dave MacMillan played ball control basketball par excellence. And after some down years, it had finally paid off in a Big 10 title in 1937 (10-2, 14-6). And the 1938 team had both All-America guard Marty Rolek and leading scorer John Kundla back. An early win over highly regarded Long Island U. at Madison Square Garden 56-41 put the Gophers on the national map.

But a 1-4 stretch included losses in the 1st 3 conference games, and even a 9-game winning streak to close the season did not enable Minnesota to catch up to 1st place Purdue. The Gophers finished 9th in the conference in scoring ahead only of last-place Chicago, but the Gophers were 1st in the Big 10 in defense. Rolek repeated as All-American.

Just for the record, the 1938-1939 Gophers won their 1st 10 conference games for a 19-game conference winning streak, but they lost 5 of 9 down the stretch.

The high school tournament final was also a low-scoring affair as Thief River Falls won its 2nd title of the decade 31-29 over Minneapolis North. In 1932 Thief had finished up with the best record in Minnesota high school history at 23-0. Now they did the same thing at 28-0.

Elsewhere Hamline (for the 6th time in 7 years) and Winona Teachers won the MIAC and Northern titles, and the Rock Spring Sparklers and All Saints Church were the best senior men's teams.

Player of the Year--Marty Rolek, Minnesota Gophers
Coach of the Year--Dave MacMillan, Minnesota Gophers
Team of the Year--Minnesota Gophers
Game of the Year--Minnesota Gophers 56 Long Island U. 41


Scoring was at or near an all-time high in high school, college and pro ball about this time. Yet, Bloomington came into the state high school tournament as the favorite based on its status as "the best defensive team ever." Well, the best defensive team ever lost to Cloquet in a huge 1st round upset 87-67. Cloquet, behind Mike Forrest and Dave Meisner, scored another 87 in the semi, and went into the final against Marshall as the prohibitive favorite.

Instead Marshall upset the Lumberjacks 75-74 in what many still call the greatest state final of them all. It just goes to show you that a run 'n gun, fast-breaking team simply cannot put three games together at the state tournament. The supportive evidence includes Lynd 1946 and Wabasso 1997.

Augsburg, led by 6-9 Dan Anderson, won the MIAC and the NAIA district title for the 2nd of 3 straight times, and became one of the few Minnesota teams since Hamline's 1951 national champions to win 2 games at the NAIA tournament.

The Minnesota Gophers went 8-6, 12-12.

Player of the Year--Dan Anderson, Augsburg
Coach of the Year--Glenn Mattke, Marshall
Team of the Year--Marshall
Game of the Year--Marshall 75 Cloquet 74


Jessica Beachy and Concordia (Moorhead) put women's basketball in Minnesota on the map with a 65-57 win over St. John Fisher to claim the NCAA D3 national championship with a 31-1 record.

Meanwhile, Rocori, DeLaSalle, Edina and Tracy-Milroy won a series of 4 lackluster state high school finals.

And the Minnesota Gophers went (women) 5-13/9-19 and then men 4-14/10-18.

Player of the Year--Jessica Beachy, Concordia (Moorhead) women
Coach of the Year--Duane Siverson, Concordia (Moorhead) women
Team of the Year--Concordia (Moorhead) women
Game of the Year--Concordia (Moorhead) 65 St. John Fisher 57

Summary: The Best of 1913-1938-1963-1988-2013

Top Players 

1. Marty Rolek, Minnesota Gophers 1938
2. Jessica Beachy, Concordia (Moorhead) 1988
3. Dan Anderson, Augsburg 1963
4. Nia Coffey, Hopkins 2013
5. Frank Lawler, The Ineligibles 1913

Top Coaches/Administrators

1. Fred B. Hill, Carleton College 1913, founded state high school tournament
2. Dave MacMillan, Minnesota 1938
3. Brian Cosgriff, Hopkins 2013, likely 3rd straight state title
4. Duane Sivertson, Concordia (Moorhead) 1988
5. Joe Hutton, Hamline 1938

Best Teams

1. Concordia (Moorhead) 1988 (31-1)
2. Hopkins girls 2013, likely 3-peat
3. Fosston 1913
4. Minnesota Gophers (16-4) 1938
5. Marshall 1963

Best Games  

1. Marshall 75 Cloquet 74 1963
2. Fosston 29 Mountain Lake 27 1913
3. Concordia (Moorhead) 65 St. John Fisher 57
4. Thief River Falls 31 Mpls. North 29 1938
5. Augsburg 56 St. Cloud State 55 1963

No comments:

Post a Comment