Howard Tigers 1964 team is Team of Excellence
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor
The 1964 Howard Tigers are the Team of Excellence and will be honored at the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse in Madison on Saturday.|
The Tigers were unbeaten (28-0) and claimed the State B title under the guidance of coach Jim Cordts.
"We were number one all season long," said Cordts, now a retired Madison teacher and coach. "We were the first State B team to go undefeated in 15 years. Eleven teams tried and did not succeed before 1964."
Experience and excellent players made Howard great in 1964.
"We qualified for the State Tournament three straight years," said Cordts. "I had three players that were starters on the 1964 team that started since they were sophomores. Being there before helped us out."
Howard beat Clark, Cheyenne Eagle Butte and Scotland in the State Tourney held at the Sioux Falls Arena. The Tigers beat Scotland 60-51 for the title.
"Everyone was against us at the State Tournament," Cordts said.
Howard had three All-Tourney selections: Dennis Carlson, Roger Truman and Glen Rasmussen.
During most of the season, the Tigers steamrolled their opponents, winning 24 games by double digits.
Cordts recalls two close calls for the Tigers. Howard beat Alexandria by six points and Alexandria had the Thomas boys, John and Mel. Howard beat Volga in the region championship by two points, as Volga had a much bigger team than the Tigers.
On defense, the Tigers would use various zone defenses from full court to half court.
"Our offense was set up by our pressing defense, and we wanted to fast break after getting a turnover," Cordts said. "We used a pattern shuffle after the transition. We averaged 81 points per game in 1964."
That was well before the three-point shot.
According to Rasmussen, Doug Jerlow and Bob Clark, members of the team, when they took the floor in basketball or the field in football, they did not plan to lose. They were undefeated in football for three years and they won the State B Baseball Tournament by beating State Class A champion Sioux Falls.
Cordts believes there will be seven or eight team members coming back for the ceremonies on Saturday.
"I was surprised when I got the call for this honor," Cordts said.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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