Do you know how many teams not from Omaha or Lincoln have won the state’s big school basketball championship in the last 40 high school seasons (written in 1996)?
Three: Fremont in 1961, Columbus in 1972 and Norfolk in 1987. And Silver Anniversary team winner, the ’72 Columbus bunch, won its title at the Nebraska Coliseum with a 71-67 conquest of defending champion Lincoln East.
Coach Jack Johnson’s team, a regular basketball contender in this era, flashed its talent and balance by almost making a rout of the championship game, getting a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter. Then, typical of what happens in the state tournament, they had to dig down and show some grit to survive a rally by East to pluck the championship.
The Discoverers won 19 of 23 games, were Class A’s high scoring team that year and a well deserving state champion.
Roster from the 1972 State Tournament Program:
Coach: Jack Johnson
Assistants: Dennis Van Fossen
Scorer: Don Holscher
Student Manager: Bruce Friedrichsen
Student Manager: Neil Dankert