By Rich Winter
Well, it's official, I'm getting fired up for high school basketball in South Dakota.
I was sitting around trying, without help from the internet, trying to figure out some of the top Native teams in South Dakota history. Where to start?
I know more about Todd County and St. Francis I suppose, because I lived in Mission for ten years. I know quite a bit about Red Cloud, Little Wound and Pine Ridge over the last ten years and in the mid to late 80's but don't know much from 1990-2004.
How to fill in the blanks?
So, with the help of the internet I ventured onto the 1959 CEB Braves team that won a state championship. I'm guessing this team would likely be in the top-10 of all-time Native basketball teams in South Dakota.
Dug up a little history on the CEB program this morning.
The 1940 Cheyenne team started the school’s boys’ basketball tradition, making it to the school’s first state tourney. Then came a 85-13 three-year run led by standout player Freddie Knife and coach Gus Kolb (a South Dakota State graduate from Leola). That run included a third-place State B finish in 1958 and a State B championship in 1959 — years when Cheyenne played its home games about 20 miles away in Gettysburg because of an inadequate gym that could not begin to hold its fan base, according to accounts in the American News archives.
At the end of the 1959 school year, the aging Cheyenne boarding school was moved into Eagle Butte due to flooding from the Oahe Reservoir, according to those newspaper accounts. One of the benefits was a spacious new gymnasium was being built in Eagle Butte. The American News reported that the Cheyenne and Eagle Butte schools would meld into Cheyenne-Eagle Butte.
Trying to find out some more information on great Native teams and players as we head into November and basketball season. Please feel free to contact me on twitter @panicgalore or via emial at firstname.lastname@example.org
Old photos would be killer.
Long-term goal, try to put together some kind of book or at least scribe some material on some of these great athletes and players.