Editor’s note: The Waseca boys basketball program claimed their second state title in school history last Saturday, their first coming in 1918, ironically also earned as a global pandemic raged. The following story was originally published in the Waseca Herald on March 28, 1918 and recaps the events that unfolded as the Waseca boys basketball team marched to the state title. The story was transcribed word for word — typographical errors included — but was edited for brevity. We would like to thank the Waseca County Historical Society for locating and providing this article for publication.
The Waseca high school basket ball team, champions of the 12th district, still have their first defeat to suffer, even after contending with the best teams of the state. They went to the tournament unspoken of and when the news of their final victory was heart it was unbelievable, but those who saw them play were unamious on the fact that they were the best team of the state and deserved the honor.
Their record at the tournament was something to be proud of, they entered the tournament with nine victories to their credit and added four more before they left. Their only hard fought game was with Albert Lea in the semi-finals. This is the first time that the Waseca high school has ever produced an athletic team which took a state championship, and the locals were the sixth team to capture the state honors on the Carleton floor, the five previous winners being Rochester, Austin, Virginia, Stillwater and Red Wing.
There wasn’t a team at the tournament that compared with the swift passing of the locals, most of the teams depended on long shots for their points. Fosston had a team which consisted of dribblers, but it was proven that a well balanced team could easily defeat them. It seems almost impossible that a team which has played on a small floor with a very low ceiling could get on the large floor at Carleton and win four straight games. Waseca’s offensive players scored most of their baskets inside of the foul line, which showed that they could get by every defense of their opponents, while only a few of their rivals baskets were score inside of the foul line, which proved that our defense was the best of the tournament.
The Waseca people proved that they were backing the team when many of them went over on the train and in cars. There were about five automobiles went to Northfield to see the team battle for the state title after they learned of the local’s victory in the semi-finals. The members of the team learned of the large crowd from here that would be present at the game and it no doubt gave more confidence to them.
The local team was greatly honored by having four men chosen on the All State teams, three on the first and one on the second. The members of these teams are picked by the “C” basket ball team. Waseca established a record of having four of its members picked for the teams, last year, Rochester, winners of the state title, had two men on the first team and one on the second.
Four of this year’s team will be missing next year, three thru graduation and one who leaves school, but they have good material at the school for a fast team next year and we all hope that they will be at the tournament against next March. Reuel Jacobson was the only one who was severely injured, but is greatly improving now after spending a few days in bed. Most of the other members of the team have been doctoring up colds and other slight injuries.
While we are praising up the members of the team we must not forget Coach McQueen, who deserves a great deal of praise for the way he improved on the team. With his splendid record this year it is the wish of everyone that he returns next year.
At nine o’clock Waseca and New Ulm took the floor. The fast pasing game of the locals soon had the New Ulm boys bewildered and with the accurate basket shooting of the two forwards the game was put on ice after a few minutes of play. The score at the end of the first half being 24 to 7. The locals came back just as strong in the second half and piled up a 22 to 5 score.
The locals having won their first game by such a one-sided score, they were picked by many to enter the finals. Capt. Juhnke led the locals with eight baskets, Frentz was next with 6. The floor work of Jacobson was the feature of the game. The guarding of Wyman and R. Juhnke was also of the first class, only four baskets were received by the New Ulm team.