JAY DAVIS: Tipping off in Rapid City new for the Tigers

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For everything there is a first. This time it is not only the first time the team has gone to state as Mobridge-Pollock, but also the fist time for the Tigers tipping off a state basketball tournament game in Rapid City.

Believe it or not, the Tigers have never played a state game west of the Missouri River and this is their 19th trip to state.

While you may think, “Wow, 19 state tourneys and none in Rapid City,” it’s not all that outlandish. The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center did not open until 1977. The Tigers have been to just four state tourneys since then.

So, where have the Tigers gone to play in the final eight? Sioux Falls is the answer nearly half the time. The first-ever Mobridge team to go to state was in 1922 and that was in Sioux Falls. The Tigers played there again in 1924 and 1925, but did not go there again until my senior year in 1977. I was on that team, at least until the second cut of the preseason. I had a pretty good intramural season, though.

The Tigers went to four state tournaments in coach Jim Schlekeway’s tenure as head coach. The 1985, ’87, ’98 and 2004 tourneys were all in Sioux Falls.

Mitchell, Aberdeen and Huron were the hosts the rest of the times the Tigers played at state.

Mitchell was the trip second on the list for most times hosting a tourney the Tigers played in. Mobridge played in the Corn Palace (that’s an assumption) in 1923, 1933, 1935, 1942 and 1951. The Tigers finished second in state at the ’51 tournament.

Aberdeen is site of the Tigers’ greatest accomplishments. The Hub City was host for both Mobridge state titles, which were won back-to-back in 1943 and 1944. Mobridge played in Aberdeen again for the 1950 state tournament.

The other two state tournaments were played in Huron. The Tigers did not do much there in 1936, but took second in state at the 1951 state tournament.

While we’re revisiting state tournaments, the shift in classes for teams around the state is nothing new. The Tigers were Class B, then Class A, then Class B, then Class A in the two-class system, then Class B before becoming a Class A team in the three-class system.

The 1962 consolation champions were the only Tiger team to make the Class A tournament in the old two-class system.

Here’s one more bit of history for you. Tim Frederick is the eighth Tiger coach to take a team to state. A.E. Anderson coached the first three state teams. L.D. Patten was coach in 1933, ’35 and ’36. Glen Wright coached the two state champion teams after C.J. Hamann guided the 1942 state team. Bert Dent led the Tigers to state in ’50 and ’51, Dent’s first two years at the helm. Lefty Engebritson coached the 1962 team. Peewee Kludt coached the 1977 Tigers. And then there was Schlek, who took a Tiger record four teams to state.

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