March flashback: Smith, Abes take silver at state

Madison LaFollette shoots record 64 percent in state championship game

posted March 19, 2017 12:00 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Ron Buckli

Bubba Smith, Michigan State’s lineman of the year, is the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and goes to the Baltimore Colts. With the fourth pick, QB Bob Griese of Purdue is taken by the Dolphins. The Packers take Bob Hyland, a lineman from Boston College. In the fourth round, Green Bay picks RB Travis Williams of Arizona State. 

After 10 years with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Bud Grant is named coach of the Vikings.

Also 50 years ago this month, Memorial leads 5-0 at the half in a slow-down game at Menomonie and emerges with a 25-11 win. 

In tournament play, the Abes win the rubber-match from North 51-37. The Huskies are guilty of 27 turnovers and get off just 28 field goal tries. That helps limit Jim DeCremer to 16 points and he finishes with a 32.8 average. The end comes for Memorial in a home floor regional game that sees Jerrol Matter hit two free throws with 13 seconds to play and Jeff Garske score 17 points to give Glenwood City a stunning 50-49 win. 

In sectional play, Barron beats Glenwood City 88-78 behind the play of Rick Maas and Jerry Hughes and then tops Cumberland 67-63 to gain a state berth.

At Madison, Barron loses 68-62 to Wausau, which goes to the finals behind coach Ken Anderson to scare unbeaten Milwaukee Lincoln before losing 61-56. A key player for the Lumberjacks is junior guard Frank Schade, who slices through the Lincoln defense. Lincoln, which came into the game averaging 102 points and featuring Clarence Sherrod, Fred Brown and John Rushing, is called “the best high school team in the nation” by coach Jim Smallins.

Regis opens Catholic State play at Milwaukee with eyes on a title and gets a 70-54 win over Kenosha St. Joseph as Dan Fisher scores 22 but sprains an ankle. He is able to play but is limited in a 66-57 loss to Milwaukee Marquette. The Ramblers come back to take third with a 61-57 win over DePere Pennings led by Fisher, Dave Skoug and Steve Toutant. Fisher and Rick Zukaitis are named to the all-tourney team.

Alma is 21-0 and coming off last year’s state tournament appearance but is knocked out by a 100-54 loss to Ellsworth, led by 36 points from Chuck Dodge.

Stan Johnson, who led the Blugolds to a winning season, finishes with a 26.9 ppg average, is named conference MVP and joins such players as Walt Frazier of Southern Illinois and Earl Monroe of Winston-Salem on the Little All-America team as an honorable mention.

Ted Voight’s basket at the buzzer and 37 points by Chuck Nagle give the Badgers an 80-79 win over Michigan. In a 105-92 win over Illinois, Nagle scores 36 to break the school’s season record held by Dick Cable, who rushes to the locker room to congratulate him.

Abes product Vern Curtis scores 31 to lead a win over Wabash and becomes the seventh Valparaiso player to top 1,000 points. He is named first-team All-Indiana Collegiate Conference. 

In the NCAA finals, UCLA tops Dayton 79-64 for a third championship in four years and a 30-0 record. Lew Alcindor has 20 points and 18 rebounds. 

The National Basketball Committee outlaws the dunk and puts in anti-stall rules.

Olympian Bill Olson wins the city ski meet at Mt. Washington with a long jump of 110 feet, but in a second meet, 15-year-old Dale Baumgarten sets the record at 117 feet. 

Dave Tomten and Mike Watkins qualify for the Junior Nationals at Duluth. 

Austria’s Reinhold Bachler sets a world record with a leap of 505 feet in Norway.

In YMCA basketball, Chuck’s Stop & Shop defeats Presto 77-55 for the Young Men’s League title as Larry Plaszcz, John Gerber and Jim Scheidler combine for 61 points. The Senior League crown goes to Bunny Bread as Bob Hall scores 24 to lead a 76-59 win over Outdoor Sport. Jon Wensel takes his fifth scoring championship with an average of 23.8 ppg, with John Schaaf second. Jim McGrath is the Young Men’s champ with 297 points. 

With a group of former Gophers stars led by Mel Northway’s 21 points, H&L Men’s Shop defeats Willie’s of Plover 104-74 for the Invitational Tournament championship.

Don Jordan of North is named to the all-state swim team. AP and UPI both choose Jim DeCremer and Dan Fisher to their first all-state basketball teams. 

McFadden’s beats Milwaukee Norm’s for a second straight state dartball title. 

After seven years at Regis with a 41-16-6 record, Bill Donahue resigns as football coach.

Hal Greer’s basket with two seconds to go gives the 76ers a 115-113 win over the Celtics for the East title and a record 63rd season win. Rick Barry ends Wilt Chamberlain’s 7-year reign when he takes the NBA scoring title with a 35.6 average, but Wilt is named MVP. 

In his pursuit of his record 54, Bobby Hull scores his 47th goal to lead the Black Hawks to a 3-1 win over Boston. 

Yankees hopes hinge on the play of Mickey Mantle at first base. 

The Houston draft board orders Cassius Clay to report for induction April 28.

40 Years Ago

Memorial defeats North 66-50 in regional play and the Huskies finish the season 13-7. 

In the regional title game, Craig Smith hits two free throws with seven seconds to play to ice the Abes’ 50-46 win over Chippewa Falls in a tense battle that sees Smith score 20 and Joe Woodford 16 for the Cardinals.

 In the sectional at Marshfield, Memorial tops Ashland 82-70 and then tops Wausau East 56-46 with a second-half rally sparked by Kevin Schnack’s 14 points and nine points off the bench from Pieter Graaskamp.

In the state meet at Madison, the No. 2-ranked Abes top DePere 65-63 as Smith scores the last six points and Kirk Etten totals 28, hitting 12 of 14 field goal tries, to offset a 24-point effort by junior Bob Coenen. Four free throws by Schnack in the final 73 seconds provide the winning margin in a 42-40 win over Brookfield East that is marred by Etten’s sprained ankle. Graaskamp fills in and scores six key points off the bench. In the championship game for the second straight year, coach John Nicholas’ Old Abes run into red-hot Madison LaFollette, which shoots a record 64 percent from the floor and pulls away late in the first half in rolling to a 65-48 win. Smith is the leading tournament scorer with 51 points and Etten is second among Class A schools; both gain All-Tourney honors as the Abes finish 23-2.

Fall Creek scores sectional wins of 50-48 over Shullsburg and 82-52 over West Salem as Gene Meyer scores 38 in the two games. 

But at Madison, coach Ron Schultz’s Crickets see Oostburg score the last 16 points to break up a close game and take a 60-43 win in the Class C opener. 

Marathon beats Oostburg 53-52 for the C title, while Clintonville slams Prairie du Chien 91-70 for the B championship after Mike Morgan-powered Ladysmith is beaten in its first game. 

After 20 straight wins, unbeaten Prairie Farm, led by Dave and Dan Mau, is denied a chance to go to state by an 84-71 regional loss to Prentice.

In the girls’ state meet, Mondovi loses to Omro 45-37 despite 26 points by Lisa Bauer. In the finals Cuba City beats Omro for the B title. In Class A, Watertown tops Green Bay West 44-37 in the finals.

In the NCAA tournament, Marquette rolls through the field and tops North Carolina-Charlotte 51-49 in the semifinals and in the finals at Atlanta faces North Carolina, which ousts Nevada-Las Vegas 84-83. The Warriors end the Al McGuire era with a 67-59 win led by Butch Lee and Bo Ellis in the 25-7 campaign. The victory celebration back in Milwaukee does $14,000 in public damage and police are not happy.

In the midst of a 37-7-1 season, coach Bob Johnson’s Badgers hockey team reaches the NCAA finals and tops New Hampshire 4-3 in overtime and then defeats Michigan 6-5 for the championship on Steve Alley’s goal 23 seconds into overtime at Detroit. It touches off a happy celebration and athletic director Elroy Hirsch admits the next day: “We drank a few beers last night.”

With high hopes of getting to Kansas City and the NAIA nationals, the Blugolds lose in the District 14 title game to Parkside, which pulls away in the last 10 minutes to a 68-58 win that closes the door on the Blugolds 22-6 season. Tim Valentyn, Jeff Lund and Denny Blunk combine for 42 points in the loss. Blunk finishes with 1,322 career points and a 66-16 record in his Blugolds years.

In YMCA basketball, Lori Freagon scores 20 points to lead American Materials to a 46-38 win over St. Thomas Alumnae in the championship game of the girls high school age tourney. 

The boys tourney gets underway with 64 teams. 

In the ‘Y’ Invitational, Minneapolis Pillsbury, led by 37 points from former pro Arvetus Kelly, defeats La Crosse Printing 95-90 for the title. Jay Eck has 33 for the losers. 

Season scoring champions are Stan Johnson (339 points) in the Senior League, which moves him past Geno Golden into the second spot in career scoring, and Eric Jentlie (269 points) in the Young Men’s League.

In the Class B Bantam state hockey meet at Hobbs, Hayward takes the title with an 11-7 win over Kenosha as Marty Fadness gets the hat trick. Eau Claire defeats Madison 4-3 on a goal by Denny Fox and places fourth.

In the YMCA state swim meet at Janesville, Eau Claire has a winner in its 8-under free relay team of Charlie Norman, Jeff Banks, Kevin Kelshaw and Greg Schoofs

Char LaChapelle of Altoona and Jane Losby of Memorial qualify for the state gymnastics meet. 

Dennis Zacho replaces Steve Anderson as Memorial hockey coach.

A shoulder injury slows Regis lefty Paul Ausman, who is dropped from the Twins major league roster but remains a hot prospect. 

Mike Devney, freshman from Regis, has moved into the starting lineup for 14-10 Northern Michigan. 

Bob Dandridge finishes the 112-108 win over the Nuggets with a dunk. Brian Winter scores 24 for the Bucks.

In skiing, Pat Quinn and Cheryl Zingsheim are the skiers of the year for the Ski Striders. 

In the junior jumping nationals at Steamboat Springs, Colo., Reed Zuehlke places third behind Jon Denney and Jeff Hastings

Doug Wahl is the Class II winner at St. Paul with a long jump of 114 feet. 

In the World Series of Ski Jumping at Oslo, Norway, Duluth’s Jim Denney surprises by taking sixth place, one of the highest finishes ever by an American.

30 Years Ago

Rice Lake, led by 6-foot-5 freshman Todd Stepanek, comes from 1-19 a year ago to 16-6 but loses to Eau Claire North 52-46 in the sectional. 

North goes on to defeat Stevens Point 44-43 in the title game at Marshfield on D.J. Pophal’s 10-foot baseline jumper with eight seconds to go as coach Pat Hammond is screaming for a timeout on the bench. 

At Madison, the Huskies take favored Sussex-Hamilton to the wire before losing 53-49. North pulls within 45-43 with 2:11 left on a Brian Bohman jumper but six free throws down the stretch spell the downfall in an 18-6 season.

Craig Plaszcz scores five points in overtime and 20 in all to lead No. 1- ranked Elk Mound to a 66-59 win over Florence. But in the Class C championship game, Dan Pedersen’s Mounders lose 72-69 to Oostburg, when a shot for the lead by Jeff Brenden, who has 24 points in all, doesn’t fall with seven seconds left. The Mounders finish 25-2. 

Milwaukee Washington defeats Fond du Lac 44-41 in Class A and Wisconsin Dells downs Clintonville 62-50 in B. 

Fondy coach Dick Diener, who took Colfax to the Class C title in 1978, is named coach of the year. 

Phillips’ Mike Johnson is a first team all-state pick while Green Bay Preble’s Tony Bennett makes third team.

In the Centennial ski jumping tournament of the Eau Claire Ski Club at Silver Mine Hill, workers have to clear the hill of a 6-inch overnight snowfall but pull off a successful tournament as Jack Gasienica, recently arrived in Chicago from Poland, outduels Reed Zuehlke for the title. After a short first jump, Zuehlke ties his hill record of 291 feet but it is not enough. Pat Hamler wins Junior Class, while Dan Mattoon bails out for 278 feet on his second ride to take fifth in Class A, skiing with a dislocated shoulder. A crowd of 5,000 watches in 34-degree weather. Hamler joins the U.S. Ski Team.

In NAIA District 14 play, the Blugolds top Parkside 61-56 and then oust Stevens Point 52-46 as John Bowen breaks a tie at 46 and Eric Davis has 16 points and 13 rebounds. 

But at Kansas City in the National meet, the Blugolds blow an eight-point lead in the final minutes and lose on a basket with seven seconds to go 63-61 to Valley City, N.D., and coach Bob Parker, the Alma and UW-River Falls product. Chuckie Graves scores 18 and Mike Blair 15 for the Blugolds.

Regis just misses a big upset and a spot in the WISAA state meet in a 48-44 loss to La Crosse Aquinas, 23-1 and the No. 1 ranked Class B team in the state. Steve Chilson’s three-point play with 41 seconds left pulls the Ramblers within one but Aquinas answers. Darin Blang scores 14 of his 19 points in the final quarter.

The Don Morton era of Badgers football begins with spring drills. Vying for the quarterback spot in the veer offense he brings from Tulsa, are Bud Keyes and Paul Chryst

The Packers are trying to unload record-setting receiver James Lofton, who faces a sexual assault charge. 

The national committee recommends a one-game playoff for the collegiate football title between the No. 1 and 2 ranked teams.

The Badgers top Northwestern 76-59 behind 30 points by J.J. Weber and then beat the Gophers 69-52 for a 14-6 record as Trent Jackson tallies 26. 

Indiana tops UNLV 97-93 and Syracuse ousts Providence 77-63 to gain the NCAA finals, which Indiana wins 74-73 on a shot from the corner with four seconds to play by Keith Smart, a support player during the season. Steve Alford scores 23 as the Hoosiers take their third title under Bob Knight. The rules committee gives overwhelming support to the 3-point shot and says its future is assured.

In girls basketball, Martha Richards scores 31 to lead Hudson to a 60-51 win over Memorial, which finishes 19-3. 

In the state meet, Fall Creek takes the Class C title with a 61-58 win over Marathon led by Jan Zimmerman’s 26 points that cap a 24-1 season. 

Amy Bauer scores 27 to lead Durand to the Class B title with a 65-26 win over Brown Deer in a 26-0 season. 

Kelly Coggins of Memorial wins the sectional all-around and qualifies for state. 

Sara Smith wins her fourth diving championship and leads the Blugolds to the NAIA national swimming title.

The Eau Claire YMCA weightlifting team wins its seventh straight state powerlifting championship. Scott Schimmel at 148 and John Bejin at 181 qualify for nationals. 

The Memorial boys team of Scott Kruger, Scott and Doug Knepper and Garrett Baumgardner win the state curling championship. 

Abes product Erik Norman, an Indiana junior, will swim in the 50 and 100 free at the NCAA national swim championships in Texas. 

With Dan Witter scoring 26 and Mike Morgan 15, Wausau Loppnow’s wins the ‘Y’ Invitational with a 71-64 win over Menards, led by Kurt Stellpflug’s 18. 

Bob Coenen scores 22 to lead WJJK to a 74-69 win over Coldwell Banker for the ‘Y’ Senior League championship.

The YMCA Boys high school age basketball tournament opens with 76 teams.

Michael Jordan scores 61 to lead the Bulls to a 125-120 win over the Pistons. 

Dick Motta gets his 800th NBA coaching win as Dallas tops the Bullets 114-107. 

Wayne Gretzky scores his 1,500th point in the Oilers’ 6-3 win over the Red Wings.

20 Years Ago

Indiana beats the Badgers 70-66 for coach Bob Knight’s 700th win, but Wisconsin bounces back to upset the Gophers 66-65 on two free throws by Ty Calderwood with 11 seconds to go. It is the seventh win in nine games and the Badgers finish 11-7 in Big Ten and 18-9 overall. Dick Bennett’s team lands an NCAA tournament berth for the second time in 50 years but loses the opener to Texas 71-57. 

Minnesota advances to the Final Four but loses 78-69 to Kentucky in the semifinals. 

In the championship game, Arizona defeats defending champion Kentucky 84-79 in overtime. Arizona has a 34-9 advantage from the free throw and scores all 10 of its overtime points from the foul line as four Kentucky players foul out.

In the women’s NCAA Division III sectional, the Blugolds rout Kentucky Thomas More 90-55 and slip by Milliken 67-63 on four free throws by Erika Schmidt in the final 20 seconds. 

Coach Lisa Stone’s team gains the Final Four in New York and opens with a 77-67 win over Capital of Ohio as Angie Cerni scores 18 in the second half. But the Blugolds lose in the championship game on a last-second shot 72-70 to New York University despite 25 points and 12 rebounds from Allison Berg.

In a late season prep boys game, Baldwin-Woodville downs Spring Valley 69-52 as Shawn Timm scores 53 points with the help of a record 12 3-point baskets. 

But in tournament play, Baldwin-Woodville loses to Glenwood City in the sectional finals 71-57 as Scott DeWyre scores 28 to lead the win while Timm has 31. The Hilltoppers fall in the Division 3 state semifinals at Madison to Omro 57-49 as DeWyre scores 27.

Menomonie ousts Memorial in regional play 35-32 as Brian Pittman scores all 18 of his points in the second half. 

North is bounced out 56-42 by Hudson in a three-win season and coach Pat Hammond says, “we’re the best 3-17 team in the state.” 

Big Rivers champ Rice Lake is eliminated by Spooner in the Division 2 sectional 67-47. 

In the Division 3 regional, Altoona downs Fall Creek 52-39 for an 18th win as Justin Redetzke scores 21, but the Rails are ousted by a 59-50 loss to Bloomer, led by JW Dachel’s 20 points. 

State champions are Milwaukee Vincent in Division 1, Seymour in 2, Omro in 3 and Edgar in 4. WIAA officials announce that next year’s state meet will be held in the new Kohl Center.

Regis avenges two losses to dump Aquinas 58-55 to gain the WISAA state meet as Jeff Kassing scores 17. 

In the Division 2 tournament at Milwaukee, the Ramblers knock off Somers Shoreland Lutheran 63-54 as Jeff Uelmen hits five 3-pointers and scores 22 points. In the finals, they hold a 16-point lead in the third quarter and Uelmen scores 29 but Milwaukee Messmer rallies for a 64-59 win. Regis finishes 18-9.

Although Cory Kulig scores 19 and Andy Bauschelt 16, the Blugolds close the season with a 74-66 loss at Whitewater and wind up 13-12 overall and 6-10 in the conference.

In the girls state semis, Kimberly knocks out Durand 59-51, but Gilman advances to the finals with a 61-39 win over Clear Lake. Gilman loses in the finals to Bangor 62-57 despite 26 points and 14 rebounds from Vanessa Schley. Ladysmith takes a 25-1 record into the finals but loses to North Fond du Lac 60-38.

Badgers RB Ron Dayne is considering challenging the NFL rule that a player has to be three years out of high school to enter the draft. 

Desmond Howard is the first free agent leaving the Packers. 

Brett Favre is free of restrictions on the alcohol ban imposed by the NFL after treatment for pain-killing medicine.

North Carolina defeats Colorado 73-56 to give coach Dean Smith his 877th win, passing Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp as the all-time leader.

Tennessee defeats Old Dominion 68-59 for a fifth women’s NCAA championship for coach Pat Summitt in a 29-10 season.

The Blugolds’ Peg Peelman sets a school record and finishes second in the WWIAC indoor track meet with a 7.31 50-meter dash. 

Chuck Beckwith fires an 810 bowling series at Wagner’s, the ninth-best in city history. Top bowling scores in March are a 750 by Mike Wirz and 675 by Linda Archibald

Junior Steph Berg and freshman Amy Berg of North qualify for the state gymnastics meet.