SIOUX CITY -- Your 50th anniversary Iowa state high school basketball championship teams in 2012 are Van Horne in the hallowed girls six-player game and Cedar Rapids Regis for the boys.
What the two had common? Each reigned supreme away from Des Moines, where most folks believe state tournaments have always been held.
There certainly was some fascinatin' rhythm to the '62 post-season, many times without rhyme nor reason.
Siouxland girls and boys squads from Holstein, Kingsley-Pierson, Everly, Sioux City Central, Laurens, Paullina, Lawton, Sutherland and Maurice-Orange City were among those with designs on the championship trophies.
Van Horne, in its only state tourney appearance, won it all in '62, topping Mediapolis (making its first of 19 straight tourney appearances) in the title game in Waterloo.
Regis, meanwhile, journeyed just a few miles down the road to grab the brass ring in the University of Iowa Field House. The Royals defeated Laurens 76-64 in the one-class boys final after upending Central 75-62 in the semis.
The Central outfit, arguably the best in school history, had won 23 straight after losing a regular-season opener in a IHSAA-sponsored clinic game at Allee Gym. The winner there was tiny Sutherland, which featured four starters from the 1961 Calumet team that lost to Marshalltown in another one-class final.
The Little Maroons of Coach Wally Piper avenged their Sutherland loss with a 68-61 win over the Tigers (some liked to call it "Suthern-Cal'') in a substate final in Our Town's jam-packed Central Annex.
"We just fell apart in that loss to Regis,'' recalls Sioux City insurance broker Don Kirchner, a top reserve. "Their zone full-court press was something we'd never seen before.
"We made way too many mistakes. They were fast and quick and aggressive. I remember them always stopping to tie their shoes. I guess they were going that fast they ran out of their shoe laces.''
Sutherland and Paullina were among the state's hard-luck teams that season. Sutherland had handed the Laurens Elks, led by all-staters and future Hall of Famers Bob and Don Ziegler, their only loss in an 80-57 regular season finale.
Laurens, which finished 27-2, got a record 37 points from Bob Ziegler, a future Iowa State star, in a first-round win over Waverly-Shell Rock.
During the season, Sutherland had lost only to Paullina (65-56 and 49-48). Coach Gary Hulst's club included high-scoring Doug Swanson, 6-7 Harry Rahbusch (a Sutherland guy), Dan Dau, Dan Menke and Bob Rehder.
Swanson, a longtime Sioux City businessman, played collegiately at Morningside.
Central, with all-staters Bob Kilstrom and the late Cliff Wilder leading the way, wound up third after trimming Sac City in the consolation contest. Kilstrom was recruited by Iowa State, but then transferred to Morningside.
Paullina, led by future University of Iowa standout Denny Pauling, had rolled unbeaten into the substate first round, only to be shocked by M-OC 50-49 on Carl Reinking's two free throws with 15 seconds to play.
Don Haster, Terry Peters, Harold Stevens and Lloyd Mathews were also members of the Central rotation.
Mathews still holds the city long jump record, Wilder was a starting football end at Iowa and Kirchner's niece, Beth, was an All-Big Ten softball outfielder at Iowa who was later the head softball coach at South Dakota State and Kentucky.
On a personal Journal-related note. Rick Schroeder, a junior reserve on the team, retired from the newspaper not long ago and remains one of the better age-group (senior) tennis players in Sioux City.
Fittingly, the state's No. 1-ranked Class 3A girls squad this season is unbeaten Benton Community, which combines the communities of Van Horne, Keystone, Blairstown, Watkins and Norway.
A celebration in Des Moines for those little burgs would be amazingly enhanced should Benton win the title.
Siouxland's connection to Benton are the school's principal, James Bieschke, the son of Sioux City contractor Larry Bieschke, and Kal Goodchild, the athletic director.
The younger Bieschke, a graduate of Westwood High School, and Goodchild are graduates of now-closed Westmar University. Jamie Bieschke wrestled at the "U'' and at Westwood.
On the boys side, the Regis team in '62 was coached by Bob "Red'' Jennings, whose son, Dr. Mike Jennings, has had a medical practice for folks in and around Sioux City since 1978.
"I was in the sixth grade when Regis won and can remember about every minute of every game like it was yesterday,'' recalls the good doctor, a Regis and Iowa grad who still attends most Iowa home football games with his father, now 85.
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