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Les Knutson, Blast from the Past: Just before the Beatles, area came alive with exciting boys basketball play

Les Knutson

Daily Globe sports columnist 

LUVERNE — Having lost their fifth close Southwest Conference basketball game of the season the previous Friday night to District 8 rival Pipestone, the Luverne Cardinals were not to be denied on the evening of Feb. 7, 1964 — 50 years ago last night.

Playing on their home court, the Cardinals were amazing in an 87-45 victory over a good Jackson squad, which had given Luverne one of its league defeats earlier in the season. Slayton, Marshall, Windom and Pipestone had also beat the Cardinals — all in close games — and LHS was sixth in the standings of the eight-team league prior to the clash against the Bluejays.

Starting with that triumph over Jackson, Luverne rattled off 11 straight wins, including eight tournament victories which ended with the 1964 state championship at Williams Arena.

As I mentioned in my column on Thursday, I wrote a full story about those ‘64 Cardinals — including memories from senior point guard Greg Thone — in one of my first “Blasts” nearly nine years ago (March of 2005).

So, what else happened on that night — half a century in the past — two evenings before John, George, Paul and Ringo performed five songs on the Ed Sullivan Show, while an estimated record number of 73 million viewers watched on CBS?

Fulda, paced by the 21 points of Dennis Phelps and 19 from Bruce Nelson, clinched the Seven Star Conference championship with a 75-66 win over Lamberton. The Raiders (12-3 overall) became a perfect 7-0 in the league.

Elsewhere in the Seven Star, host Lakefield (1-6) nearly upset Mountain Lake (6-1). But the Lakers prevailed, 59-57, as Paul Fuller scored 27 points and track star Steve Klassen tallied a dozen. Gaylen Darnell (18) and sophomore Fred Mosley (14) each netted double figures for the Panthers.

Worthington, paced by 23 points and 12 rebounds from Duane Peterson, held off Windom in a Southwest Conference clash on the Trojans’ court, 68-64. Sophomore guard Marty Jorgensen (17) and Jerry Griffith (13) also scored in double figures, while senior Tom Wing snagged a game-high 15 rebounds for the Trojans.

Defending league champion Windom, which was hit hard by graduation in ‘63, utilized an effective zone press and battled well through all 32 minutes. Dick Nelson scored 13 points for Windom, while Andy Olson and Bill Jeffrey — who both fouled out — each tallied 10.

Up at Storden, the Tigers had a good team (11-3) and gave Comfrey (14-1) its first loss of the season, snapping the Rockets 14-game winning streak. Andy Aadland (17), Harold Grote (15) and Gary Solomonson (10) were in double-digits for SHS, while Ken Wall (21) and Jim Armbruster (11) were Comfrey’s leading scorers.

In Heron Lake, the Falcons nipped Round Lake by a point, 58-57, giving Gene Jenkins’ squad its first Southern Star Conference win in two seasons. It was Heron Lake’s third win overall, after going 0-19 the previous winter.

Senior Gary Raines scored 18 points to lead the Falcons (1-11 in the league in ‘63-64) and 6-4 sophomore Phil Fury netted 15. John Sather and Dave Poppen each scored 14 points for the Thunderbirds (4-7).

At Brewster, Sioux Valley scored 38 points in the second quarter as the Warriors (9-2) stretched a 20-14 lead to a 58-28 advantage on the Bulldogs (4-7).

Four Sioux Valley players scored in double figures, as Duane Roslansky and Richard Wulf (26 rebounds) notched 29 and 28 points, respectively, while Larry Puhrman (12) and Steve Spang (10) combined for 22 more.

Warren McNab had 29 points for Brewster and Ricky Nelson scored 14 for the Bulldogs.

In the Tri-County, Adrian defeated Beaver Creek (82-66), Lake Wilson beat Ellsworth (72-62) and Magnolia took it to Chandler (79-37).

Edgerton remained undefeated in league action (13-0) with a 76-63 win over Hills on the Bluejays’ court. Guards Curt VanderStoep (32) and Vernon Schoolmeester (23) had big scoring nights for the Flying Dutchmen. But, Terry Arends — a long-range shooting wizard for Hills — scored a game-high 36 points and Art Ehde tallied 11 for the Bluejays, who trailed by 16 points (35-19) at intermission.

So, what about that Luverne vs. Jackson game — who did the scoring in that one?

Jackson’ Dave Bornholdt who, along with Schoolmeester, had been named that week to the WCCO Radio Prep Parade Team of the Week, was held to just seven points by the Cardinals, who put four players — Del Jessen (22), Thone (16), Bill Toms (14) and John Beyer (12) — in double figures.

The quarter scores at Luverne that night were 25-8, 55-19 and 76-32.

There you have it — a quick recap of some the area’s games from 50 years ago last night, as the 1964 season approached tournament time.

A quick follow-up question — which two teams scored 30 or more points in the second quarter of their games that night?