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Blast from the past: Ellsworth, Pipestone, Faith Christian, H-BC win in 1987 District 8 quarterfinals

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WORTHINGTON -- First of all, congratulations to the Worthington High School varsity girls' basketball team on its thrilling and dramatic sub-section championship game victory over Fairmont at Jackson Monday evening, 55-53.

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The Trojans effectively utilized 10 players in the game and gave valued assistant coach Pat Williams the "happy" birthday present he was hoping for.

It was one of those tournament "nail biters" that wasn't decided until the final two seconds and certainly could have gone either way, as both the Cardinals and Trojans battled hard and played well.

Speaking of high school tournament basketball, another successful set of "Super Saturday's" are in the "books" as the popular annual Section 3A South (sub-section) quarterfinals were played at the Worthington High School gym the past two Saturdays -- girls on Feb. 25 and boys March 3.

Not all the sections operate in the same fashion, with all four quarterfinal games played in one day at the same neutral site. In fact, Section 2 has home-court advantage for the higher seed in both the quarterfinals and semifinals.

So, when did "Super Saturday" begin?

I am not sure, but it has been going a long time, originating as a District 8 affair before the district-regional alignment was changed to sub-sections and sections, following the 1991 season.

If anyone has knowledge as to when District 8 first played all quarterfinal games on Saturday, let us know.

And if you know when the event became dubbed "Super Saturday" let us know that, too.

Boom leads Ellsworth to 1987 District 8 finals

Exactly 25 years ago today, it was Saturday, March 7, 1987 -- a warm day as a very mild winter was coming to an end.

Inside the confines of the tournament-tradition-rich WHS gym, four District 8 quarterfinal games were being played -- and three of them ended up with the lower-seeded team winning.

Fifth-seeded Ellsworth, paced by 28 points from Chad Boom (11 of 19 from the field) and Troy DeGroot's 20 points and 11 rebounds, defeated fourth-seeded Slayton, 79-55, in the 11 a.m. opener.

The Panthers shot a red-hot 60 percent from the field and outrebounded the Wildcats, 34-19.

Barry Brands was Slayton's top scorer with 20 points, while Tony Schwartz and John Grieme netted 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The day's biggest upset in the second contest when seventh-seeded Pipestone (6-13) rolled to a 17-point win, 83-66, over second-seeded Southwest Christian, ending the Eagles' season at 15-5.

Lance Stoeber, a 6-1 senior, sank 13-of-16 free throws and notched a game-high 23 points to lead the Arrows to their second tournament win -- a 69-60 triumph over Edgerton had advanced them to "Super Saturday" -- and just their seventh victory of the season.

Scott Staatz (20), Kris Kluis (13), Mark Ossenfort (10) and Jay Portz (10) also notched double figures for Pipestone, while Ryan Vander Pol (14), Tim Nibbelink (12) and Barry Bork (11) did the same for Southwest Christian.

Then in Game 3, it was sixth-seeded Faith Christian winning a second tournament game, nipping third-seeded Luverne by a single point, 54-53.

Duane Walburg paced the Falcons with 17 points, while Terry Wolterstorff, Brian Bosma and 6-6 Jeff Zylstra (eight rebounds) scored 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Tom Menage scored 16 points for the Cardinals (10-10), while Jon Maras netted 10.

In the day's final game, top-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek improved to 17-3 with an impessive 72-54 victory over eighth-seeded Adrian.

H-BC junior guard Tom Goehle had a stellar day for the Patriots, passing for 10 assists and firing in several "long bombs" to finish with 17 points.

This was one season before the introduction of the 3-point shot in Minnesota high school basketball, so all of Goehle's "bombs" were just worth two points.

Joel Beyenhof (six rebounds) also scored 17 points for H-BC, while Chad Koel and Jim Kueter tallied 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Juniors Ricky Nath (18) and Greg Springman (10) had double figures for Coach Dean Schnaible's Dragons.

Nicholson leads Trojans to 68-50 win over Fairmont

Senior center Steve Nicholson scored 18 points and claimed 13 rebounds to lead Worthington to a AA tournament victory over Fairmont, 68-50.

The Trojans, who led 16-8 and 30-20 after the first two quarters, finished the third period on an 11-2 run to take a 49-27 lead into the fourth quarter.

Duane Hattendorf and Brian Seesz each scored 12 points for WHS, while Bryan Hughes dished off seven assists and Todd Bird scored six of his eight points in the first quarter, helping the Trojans to their fast start.

Panthers edge Patriots in double overtime, 55-53

Rallying from an 11-4 first quarter deficit, Ellsworth earned its way to the District 8 championship game with a thrilling, double-overtime victory over H-BC, 55-53.

Boom, who finished with a game-high 19 points, including all four in the second overtime, hit the game-winning shot with seconds left to end a great season for the Patriots (17-4).

DeGroot scored 12 points for the Panthers, who improved to 14-7.

Kueter (14), Koel (12), Jeff Berkhof (12) and Goehle (10) all had double figures for H-BC.

Jason Hess scored a game-high 16 points to lead Pipestone to a 57-43 win over Faith Christian in the other District 8 semifinal. Staatz and Kluis netted 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Arrows who continued their fine tournament run.

Walburg (14) and Zylstra (10) both scored in double figures for the Falcons, who finished their campaign with a 12-9 record.

Jackson, Lakefieldwin one-point games in District 7 semifinals

Meanwhile over in District 7, both Jackson and Lakefield won one-point games in the semifinals, setting up a 1984 rematch between the Bluejays and Panthers for the championship game.

Wade Wacker (20) and Brian Rohloff (15) each scored in double figures and Kirk Dunlavey and Brig Hampel both had nine points, as Jackson edged Windom, 64-63.

Richard Schmidt paced the Eagles with 18 points, while John Carrison and Kalan Malchow both scored 16.

Eight players scored for Lakefield, led by Jason Vacura's 14 points, as the Panthers nipped Mountain Lake, 53-52. Kirk Blackwell and Bryan Classen led the Lakers with 16 and 10 points, respectively.

Pipestone's girls win Region 2, Arrows, Bluejays take titles

Friday, the 13th, was a big day for Pipestone in 1987, as the Arrows won the Region 2 girls' championship that evening and the boys won the District 8 title.

After winning District 8, Pipestone's girls defeated Minnesota Lake, 75-57, in the regional semifinals and then earned a state tournament trip with a 50-49 victory over Blue Earth in the championship game.

In Region 3, Tracy-Milroy, despite being outscored 16-3 in the second quarter, rallied to defeat Sanborn-Lamberton, 53-50, in the title game. Two of the state's best players -- T-M's Mary Jo Miller and S-L's Cathy Bassett -- were featured in that contest.

Pipestone capped its surprising surge through the District 8 boys' tournament with a 61-50 win over Ellsworth in the finals, while Jackson -- behind 36 points by Wacker and 17 from Barry Johnson -- defeated Lakefield, 76-58, in the District 7 championship game. Rob Prochaska netted 30 points for Lakefield, while Vacura scored 14.

More details on those four games will be mentioned in an upcoming "blast."

1987 Elk's Hoop Shoot remembered

On groundhog day, 1987, the Daily Globe sports page carried the results of the annual Elk's Hoop Shoot free throw contest held at Worthington Community College.

A total of 104 youths, ages 8-13, participated in the event. Remember when Comfrey used to bring a bus?

The paper listed the top five finishers in each of the six age-group categories, but it did not include the number of free throws made.

Here are those five top in each division, listed first through fifth:

Boys, 8-9: Danny Zabloudil, Worthington; Anthony Rubis, Lakefield; Travis Johnson, Comfrey; John Sather, Round Lake; Jeff Resch, Lakefield.

Girls, 8-9: Kresta Faaborg, Worthington; Candi Hup, Fulda; Becky Esser, Lakefield; Becky Schmitz, Worthington; Kari Kocak, Lakefield.

Boys, 10-11: Brendan Nagel, Worthington; Brad Carroll, Fulda; Chris Stenzel, Heron Lake; Bobby Zabloudil, Worthington; Bobby Madsen, Okabena.

Girls, 10-11: Jenny Prochaska, Lakefield; Angie Reder, Lakefield; Amy Bass, Okabena; Nicole Rademacher, Okabena; Kim Fults, Comfrey.

Boys, 12-13: Jerry Gode, Comfrey; Troy Timmons, Worthington; Trevor Roiger, Comfrey; Casey Haas, Worthington; Sean Kruger, Round Lake.

Girls, 12-13: Michelle Bottin, Lakefield; Jen Rademacher, Okabena; Kara Henning, Lakefield; Amy Newman, Worthington; April McHugh, Worthington.

It's interesting that many of those "Hoop Shoot" winners later became top-notch high school players in the 1990s.

Bottin, Radamacher and Henning, for example, the top three in the girls' 12-13 age division, were all later teammates for Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield in the early '90s.

Christoffer, Hayenga shine in late-January girls' hoop action

In that mild winter, which -- on the national scene -- had stories about Minnesota's Jim Langer (Miami Dolphins) making the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the death of Ohio State football coaching legend Woody Hayes and the "battles" of 29-year-old utility infielder Ron Gardenhire to make a permanent place on a Major League roster (he had started as the New York Mets shortstop in 1982, but had been sent to the minors after that and was hoping to make it with the Twins in '87), there were a couple of stellar performances on the local girls' basketball scene.

That was the second season of the smaller girls' ball and also one of the years (were there two) of the no foul out rule.

Players could continue playing after their fifth foul, but opponents got two shots and the ball for each foul on a player after five.

Heron Lake-Okabena senior center Dana Christoffer took advantage of that rule on Saturday evening, Jan. 24 when she was a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw stripe, scoring 22 points and claiming 12 rebounds, in a thrilling 46-39 victory over Windom at a packed Okabena gym, helping the Scarlet Knights improve to 9-4.

Four days later, Worthington freshman Rosalie Hayenga -- who would later become a collegiate star at both WCC and Moorhead State -- scored 23 points, passed for eight assists and hustled for five steals to lead the Trojans to a 56-54 Southwest Conference win over Marshall.

Sophomore Teresa Lang (16 points, eight rebounds) sank a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to keep Worthington ahead.

Jen O'Neill (10 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) scored twice late in the game (off of Hayenga assists) to help the Trojans win that close contest.

Now that's a look back at some of the sports' action from 25 years ago -- the winter of 1987.

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