Seward High School basketball, coached by Tom McLaughlin, made a name for itself in the era of 50 years ago, making it to the state championship game three consecutive years in 1947, 1948 and 1949. Only a handful of schools after the time when districts determined state tournament teams could boast of three-in-a-row trips to the state finals.
The Hall of Fame chose to bestow its Golden Anniversary Award, planned for an outstanding team in the school 50 years ago, on Seward’s championship teams of 1948 and 1949, both of them.
The late Roland Rivers made all the all-state teams during the 1947-49 era and was the leading Class B scorer in the state two years in a row when Seward won its state championships.
The 1948 team posted a 20-2 record and came to Lincoln for a state tournament sweep with wins over Cozad (41-33), Crete (41-33) and Ord in the finals (52-42). The 1949 team collected a prized regular season victory over Class A’s highly-regarded Hastings and its star Chuck Stickels (who is in the Hall of Fame), and the Bluejays finished off a 21-1 season with another successful trip to the state tournament–beating Loup City (51-38), Gothenburg (51-44) and Omaha Holy Name in the finals (33-29).
Dick Briggs 49
Ted Dierberger 48(s)
Don Hagemoser 48(s)-49(s)
Jim Hayes 48-49
Don Imig 48-49(s)
Dick Miller 48
Cleon Nagel 48
Roland Rivers 48(s)-49(s)
Don Rolfsmeier 48(s)-49(s)
Jack Rousselle 48-49
Bernard Scheer 49(s)
Bruce Schroeder 48
Eldon Schuknecht 49
Don Strunc 48(s)
Norman Walla 49
Dick Welsh 49
Ken Wergin 48-49
Coach Tom McLaughlin
In 1946, McCook High School utilized a blend of the speed from a state track championship team and the experience of a talented senior class to win the school’s first and only football state championship (written in 1996).
The Bison went 9-0 and defeated Fremont, 7 to 0, in the Big 10 Conference playoff game in the final game of the year. The prized victory for this team was 40-7 over Grand Island. This victory put McCook in line for the championship because Grand Island later defeated the Lincoln champion Lincoln High, which had defeated Omaha champion Omaha South.
In those pre-football playoff days, comparative scores were the basis for final ratings and state title selections.
McCook also won the Southwest Conference championship and scored 176 points for the year, giving up 26. Coach Russ Sautter’s team usually won easily but in the few close games they had, they showed a knack for the big play.
Mary Lou Shubert Drake
Mary Ann Wagner
Lee Avis Coler Rutt
Take away a three point loss opening the 1946-47 season to Class A Creighton Prep and Atkinson St. Joseph would have won 78 games in a row over a three-year period, a streak which nobody would have touched in Nebraska high school basketball until the 70’s.
In those days, St. Joseph went looking for competition, more times than reaching out to schedule a Class A team. Beyond that game, St. Joseph ‘s size was Class D and that’s where the NSAA had them assigned. But the Bluejays opted to play up to Class C come tournament time and won state championships in that class in 1946 with a 27-0 record and again in 1947 with a 28-1 record.
St. Joseph then won its first 23 games of the 1947-48 season for its official 51-game winning streak.
Members of all three teams are honored:
Tom Slattery, Jr.
Coach Tom Slattery
Assistants: Harold Grof, Frank Mancuso
Cheerleaders: Gladys Domina, LaQuita Parsons, Marianne Tasler (Jensen), Norma Jean Parson, MaryCoonnelly, Ethel Pettinger, Rita Troshynski, Dorthy Wilkinson, Mary Ellen Engler, JoAnn Seger. Mascots: Pat Keating, Bob Faust.
The 1959-60 school year culminated a great five-year span of high school baseball at Central City High with a championship in the 1960 Class B state tournament. The state final was an 8-4 win over Lincoln Pius X.
Coach: Bill Kennedy
In five years Bison baseball lost only two games in district and state competition. Starters were Kent Braasch, Goldie Hack, Larry Holmes, Tom Larson, Mack McMahon, Tom Moates, Larry (Tank) Munn, James Roark and Wendell Roscoe. Other players: Wilson Dukes, Jim Kuhn, Chad Newby, Larry Ribble and Rex Weller.