Minnesota
 

More Great Games

In our search for “great games” we have come across two wonderful stories out of Minnesota high school boys’ basketball: Lynd high school’s record in the 1946 State Tournament and Edgerton’s winning the Tournament in 1960.

It’s important to remember that up until the 1990s all Minnesota high schools competed in a single playoff system. That is, small-town schools had a chance to compete with the huge schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The tournaments were immensely popular and were always “sold out” affairs; the ordinary fan would have to wait years to get a ticket.

In 1946, a small school in southwestern Minnesota became a high school basketball legend by reaching the finals of the State Tournament. The town of Lynd had a population of around 400 which was smaller than the student bodies of some of schools that they would defeat that year. In fact, Lynd is still the smallest school to ever appear in the Tournament. They were reputed to practice in a barn and were dubbed the “hayloft” team. In a “greatest game ever played” quarterfinal against the top ranked, powerhouse Crosby-Ironton, a frequent qualifier for the State Tournament, Lynd won, 58-47.

Lynd used the somewhat rare style of basketball called “fast break,” invented in the 1920s by Ward “Piggy” Lambert of Deadwood, South Dakota. (See “The Gunslinger of Basketball”) In the final game they finally lost to the much taller Austin. Nonetheless, the Lynd achievement of 1946 rests among the very best of Midwestern sports legends.

In 1960 Edgerton, only about thirty-five miles south of Lynd, became the smallest school to ever win the Minnesota State Tournament. With a town population of around 1,000, their record of 27-0 and the defeat of Austin, 72-61, in the final game, they gained legendary status in high school sports. Ironically, that was a nice bit of revenge for Lynd’s loss to Austin fourteen years earlier.

These are the kind of stories that inflamed the imagination, the hopes, and dreams of high school basketball players throughout the Upper Midwest as March drew near: It’s tournament time. Anything is possible!
Author: EVM STAFF on 02/28 2009
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