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Les Knutson: Benefit for ‘Sarge’ and Rita tonight at Elks

WORTHINGTON — As detailed in Jane Turpin Moore’s front page story on Monday’s issue of the Daily Globe, the fundraising benefit for Steve and Rita Bassett is this evening, from 5-8 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in downtown Worthington.

Steve, better known as “Sarge,” recently returned home after spending most of the last 11 weeks of 2013 in Rochester going through a long surgery and completing a series of cancer treatments. Now, his wife Rita — who helped nurse Steve through his ordeal — has been diagnosed with cancer herself and is beginning her trips to Mayo.

The many friends of the Bassetts have organized this fundraiser, which includes a meal — pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, chips and dessert — and a silent auction. An online auction (through Feb. 15) will continue for the next three weeks.

A free-will offering will be accepted.

This is a great chance to get a meal, visit with Steve and Rita and help the couple out with the enormous expenses incurred over the past three months.

Steve, a native of Rushmore, was both a Trojan and a Bluejay athlete (football and baseball) in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Since, then he has been a “workhorse” pitcher in the amateur baseball ranks, a dedicated umpire (softball and baseball), an assistant football coach for Minnesota West and the assistant softball coach for the Lady Jays.

Steve and Rita have both done a lot for the community.

Let’s show the Bassetts our appreciation and pack the Elks Lodge this evening.

Terry Porter leads Tigers to big win 50 years ago 

Exactly 50 years ago tonight, Jan. 24, 1964 —two weeks before the Beatles premiered on the Ed Sullivan Show — the defending state champion (one class) Marshall Tigers came to Worthington for a Southwest Conference clash between two of the league leaders.

The WHS gym was absolutely jam-packed, with a tournament-like atmosphere and the game was close —most of the way.

Marshall posted quarter leads of 16-13, 34-28 and 51-42 before pulling away in the final eight minutes for a 69-53 victory, as both teams left the gym with fine overall records of 9-3. 

The Tigers became 6-1 in the conference, while the Trojans fell to 5-3.

Marshall’s all-state senior guard Terry Porter paced the Tigers’ effort with a 38-point performance, while Worthington’s all-around senior athlete Tom Wing scored 17 points to lead the Trojans, who had nine players —out of 10 who were utilized in a close game —get their names in the score column.

Elsewhere in the Southwest Conference, Windom won its first league game with a surprising 67-63 victory over eventual 1964 state champion Luverne. 

Playing on their home floor, the rebuilding Eagles received 17, 16 and 13 points, respectively, from seniors Andy Olson, Warren Jeffers and Bill Jeffrey, while sophomore guard Steve Elness netted 13 points, including the final four clinching free throws.

Bill Toms (22), Del Jessen (14) and John Beyer (10) each scored double figures for the Cardinals, who eight weeks later would win three straight games at Williams Arena.

Pipestone, behind 32 points from Eric Sorenson and 24 by Craig Johnson defeated Jackson, 78-62, on the Bluejays’ court.

David Bornholdt (21) and Dennis Hale (14) were the leading scorers for Jackson.

The fourth game never took place, as the glass backboard at Redwood Falls shattered prior to the start of the Cardinals scheduled tilt with Slayton.

There was also a full slate of games in the Red Rock, Southern Star, Tri-County and Seven Star conferences that night, too.

I will highlight some of those game next week, but here two of the best —catchy, at least —headlines from the Globe sports pages 50 years ago were:

“Edgerton Wades over Lake Wilson” was one, and “Springfield is Sprung by Tracy” ran another.

Next time, look forward to reading some of the details of those games and more —from late January of 1964.