March 21, 2018

Remembering state 60 years later

By Suzanne Werre
They sat at the kitchen table analyzing the previous night’s Class B State Boys Basketball tournament games like any other basketball fans. The difference with these two men is they know what it feels like to be one of the players at “the show,” North Dakota’s biggest sporting event. They were both members of the 1958 state runner-up Underwood Comets team, and members of the 1957 third-place Comets team.
Jim Martin was a junior starter 60 years ago, the year the team took second, Hank Rasmusson a year younger.
“I had the important job of being a bench warmer,” said Rasmusson.
Other members of that 1957-58 team were Curt Radke, Tom Johnson, Kenny Hepper, Mark Wilson, Clvin Sayler, Ronnie Bader, Osbey Sayler, Paul Kranz and Chuck Johnson. They were coached by Kenny Becker, and student manager was Delmar Heine.
As the two talked about Thursday night’s televised games (other team members were not able to attend), they recalled their own state experiences, remembering losing the championship game in ’58 by one point to Kulm. They were both at state in ’57, but it was the title game in ’58 that they focused on as they talked with the News-Journal. They think they played in the first televised Class B state basketball championship, but they weren’t quite sure.
The results of that ’58 title game are still up for debate among the people who played in and attended the game.  The game clock had stopped working the last several minutes of the game, they remembered, so the refs were keeping track of the time.
Jim Martin remembers not really knowing how much time was left in the game when as the Comets trailed by one, he took a shot that would probably win the game. It missed the mark, but he got another try off the rebound. That, too, missed the mark.

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