Elbowoods 1942 team honored
BY HUNTER L. ANDES
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY MARILYN HUDSON
It was March 21, 1942. The Warriors of Elbowoods had accomplished what every small-town North Dakota basketball team dreams of: playing in the North Dakota State B championship game.
Before the U.S. government flooded the Missouri River, Elbowoods High School had a team who defied all the odds. The team of only nine boys came from a closet-size gymnasium, yet played at Class A speed in the 1941-1942 season.
They made it to the State B with a 22-2 record. Their first game in the tournament was against New England. Elbowoods came out on top with a score of 29-27, and then went on to win the second game against Sacred Heart Academy of Fargo, 29-28.
But a problem arose on the last day of the tournament. The Warriors’ star player, John Rabbithead, turned 20 – the age at which a player becomes ineligible to play. Prior to the tournament, the North Dakota High School Activities Association made sure they notified the Elbowoods head coach about it – several times.
With only eight players remaining, a couple other players got injured during the championship game. Elbowoods lost that game to Lakota by one point – 31-32; however, months later, the Elbowoods coach received a letter from Lakota stating Lakota was forfeiting that season because one of their players had been 21 years old.