Winter Lecture Series will recall Osakis High School basketballEverybody was excited in March 1967 when the Osakis High School basketball team brought home the District 22 trophy and then prepared for the regional contest.
By: By Stella Riley Bender, Contributing Writer, Alexandria Echo Press
Everybody was excited in March 1967 when the Osakis High School basketball team brought home the District 22 trophy and then prepared for the regional contest.
Now it will be “1967 March Madness” all over again as those glory-filled days are remembered on Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m. at the Pollard Community Center, 14 West Nokomis Street.
Coach Jack Toftey, assistant coach Ralph Morben, and members of the Silverstreak team have all been invited to bring their memories and attend the program. The public is also invited.
Parts of an audio tape of the radio broadcast of the final regional game with Moorhead will be played. (Spoiler alert: Osakis lost in the final minutes.)
Admission is free. Popcorn will be served during the “game” and refreshments will be served after the program.
The basketball celebration is the last of three programs in Winter Lecture Series 2009, presented by the Osakis Area Heritage Center and funded by grants from Runestone Electric Association and Stearns County Electric Association.
Toftey, who coached basketball at Osakis High School from 1960 to 1967, plans to come to the event. Now retired, he lives in Isle, Minnesota with his wife, Suzanne.
“My biggest memory of that time was the way we were treated when we got home after the regional game,” Toftey said. “Cars were lined up way down the street, people honking and waving. Downtown, a stage was set up and there were people everywhere.”
Most of the boys on the 1967 Silverstreak team had played basketball together since 7th grade. Their strength was balance, as four of the five starters hit more than 300 points – Mike Lutgen, John Lang, Gerry Sibell and Mike Peterson.
Calling the 22-3 season an example of “team wins,” Toftey said his players didn’t care who led the scoring, as long as they won.
Bob Dylla, student manager of the team, now of Omaha, Nebraska recalled that Sibell had earlier broken his wrist and learned to shoot with either hand, which seemed an “oddity for our foes.”
Remembering the regional championship game, Dylla said, “Osakis had a cold fourth quarter and Moorhead’s big scorer, Isamen, was pretty much unstoppable. He was built for playing football and seemed to get away with playing a physical game in the paint.”
The Winter Lecture Series is an annual presentation of three seasonal programs by the non-profit Osakis Area Heritage Center. Now in its 21st year, the series began in 1988.
For more information, call (320) 859-4151.