Top moments of the Early Era

  • Updated: March 19, 2012 - 10:45 PM
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Boys' state basketball championship player, George Smilanich, with some of his teams trophies from 1941 and 1942. The trophies are kept at the Buhl Public Library.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

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1. Gaylord becomes the state’s first unofficial “Cinderella’ champion in 1926, a tiny underdog that knocked off Moorhead, Austin and Gilbert. Gaylord had 27 boys in its entire high school.

2. Chisholm, the 1931 pre-tournament favorite, has the ball and a 14-13 lead over Glencoe in the semis with a minute to play. But a Glencoe steal and a basket by guard LeRoy Karstens gives the victory to Glencoe, which claimed the state title a night later.

3. The shot of the early era comes in 1932 by Mankato’s Earl Pennington, whose half-court field goal at the buzzer lifts Mankato to a 17-15 quarterfinal victory over Northfield. But Mankato loses in the semis a night later.

4. The largest crowd in tournament history to date — 12,500 – watches tiny Buhl defeat Marshall 30-29 in the 1942 title game at the U of M Fieldhouse, which would be renamed Williams Arena.

5. Minneapolis Henry’s Jim McIntyre becomes the Babe Ruth of the state basketball tournament, scoring a record 43 points in the 1945 title game victory over Ely. McIntyre averages 33.3 points a game, more than 13 points a game higher than the previous scoring record.

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