ckumpula
For several years folks on this board have encouraged me to write a book about basketball in northern Wisconsin. Phase one is complete.
WHEN ALL ROADS LED TO SPOONER chronicles the one-class sectional that ran from 1943-1971. Schools as small as Saxon, Mellen, Westboro, Clayton, and Milltown arrived in Spooner to do battle with the likes of Ashland, Rice Lake, Hurley, Superior Central, and Eau Claire Memorial. (In 1972 the WIAA went to two classes; then to three in 1974, and so on.)
The original venue was Spooner's Old Gym where legends like Nate Delong, Bud Grant, and Dick Axness roamed; where Hurley established the first sectional dynasty; and from where St. Croix Falls went on to dominate the state tournament like no other team in history. The Superior schools dominated in the '50s with too many stars to mention here. Along the way was a battle for control of the sectional between H.J. Antholz and the northern schools, resulting in a one-time sectional appearing in Ashland in 1950 IN ADDITION to the sectional held in Spooner. (There were only eight sectionals in the entire state and that year TWO were in northern Wisconsin.)
After a fire damaged Spooner's Old Gym in 1955 the tournament was moved to Ladysmith and then to Rice Lake before returning to Spooner and the newly-built Antholz Gymnasium in 1958. Rice Lake, Cumberland, and Eau Claire Memorial won multiple titles there in the '60s/early '70s with Drummond and Frederic pulling off small school Cinderella stories.
Each sectional from 1943-1971 has its own chapter with each game (semi-finals, consolation, and championships) covered in detail. Helping to complete the saga are stories about the controversy over the location of the tournament, the fire, and historic Antholz Gymnasium (which for many years was the state's largest high school gym.)
My goal was to preserve the historical record of the Spooner area sectional. According to the many phone calls, comments, and e-mails I've received it seems I was successful. The response has been excellent in northern Wisconsin and I'm posting this to make fans of basketball in other parts of the state aware of the book. The book is for sale in Eau Claire, Barron, Rice Lake, St. Croix Falls, Frederic, Cumberland, Spooner, Superior, Ashland, Mellen, and Hurley. You can also order it online at ashlandwihistory.com. When you get to the Historical Society site go to "Gift Shop." The book will be there.
   IMG_5207.jpg

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db11
ckumpula wrote:
For several years folks on this board have encouraged me to write a book about basketball in northern Wisconsin. Phase one is complete.
WHEN ALL ROADS LED TO SPOONER chronicles the one-class sectional that ran from 1943-1971. Schools as small as Saxon, Mellen, Westboro, Clayton, and Milltown arrived in Spooner to do battle with the likes of Ashland, Rice Lake, Hurley, Superior Central, and Eau Claire Memorial. (In 1972 the WIAA went to two classes; then to three in 1974, and so on.)
The original venue was Spooner's Old Gym where legends like Nate Delong, Bud Grant, and Dick Axness roamed; where Hurley established the first sectional dynasty; and from where St. Croix Falls went on to dominate the state tournament like no other team in history. The Superior schools dominated in the '50s with too many stars to mention here. Along the way was a battle for control of the sectional between H.J. Antholz and the northern schools, resulting in a one-time sectional appearing in Ashland in 1950 IN ADDITION to the sectional held in Spooner. (There were only eight sectionals in the entire state and that year TWO were in northern Wisconsin.)
After a fire damaged Spooner's Old Gym in 1955 the tournament was moved to Ladysmith and then to Rice Lake before returning to Spooner and the newly-built Antholz Gymnasium in 1958. Rice Lake, Cumberland, and Eau Claire Memorial won multiple titles there in the '60s/early '70s with Drummond and Frederic pulling off small school Cinderella stories.
Each sectional from 1943-1971 has its own chapter with each game (semi-finals, consolation, and championships) covered in detail. Helping to complete the saga are stories about the controversy over the location of the tournament, the fire, and historic Antholz Gymnasium (which for many years was the state's largest high school gym.)
My goal was to preserve the historical record of the Spooner area sectional. According to the many phone calls, comments, and e-mails I've received it seems I was successful. The response has been excellent in northern Wisconsin and I'm posting this to make fans of basketball in other parts of the state aware of the book. The book is for sale in Eau Claire, Barron, Rice Lake, St. Croix Falls, Frederic, Cumberland, Spooner, Superior, Ashland, Mellen, and Hurley. You can also order it online at ashlandwihistory.com. When you get to the Historical Society site go to "Gift Shop." The book will be there.
   IMG_5207.jpg


Awesome. I remember you talking about this awhile back. Will definitely be ordering.
https://twitter.com/barwickipedia - Follow me. Because we all need a bit of sports snark in our lives.

"Doin' right ain't got no end."
-The Outlaw Josey Wales

"'Allegedly' is right, Mr. Polian. I have a hole in my ear drum, I'd never go for a swim, no matter how drunk me is."
-Pat McAfee
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gstacy
What geographic region was covered?
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ckumpula
Essentially the northwest 1/4 of the state, bounded by Lake Superior to the north, WI/MN border to the west, Hwy 29 to the south, and HWY 51 to the east. I say "essentially" because those limits were fluid. Rhinelander, for example, was a big part of the story in 1950 and again in 1960 even though it is east of Hwy 51. Eau Claire played at Spooner in 1944, then was given its own sectional, then was returned to the Spooner Sectional in 1966.
There were approximately 100 public high schools in the mix, many of which no longer exist, such as Saxon, Iron Belt, Hannibal, Draper, Iron River, Cable, Tripoli, Glidden, Centuria, Milltown, etc., etc.

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db11
ckumpula wrote:
Essentially the northwest 1/4 of the state, bounded by Lake Superior to the north, WI/MN border to the west, Hwy 29 to the south, and HWY 51 to the east. I say "essentially" because those limits were fluid. Rhinelander, for example, was a big part of the story in 1950 and again in 1960 even though it is east of Hwy 51. Eau Claire played at Spooner in 1944, then was given its own sectional, then was returned to the Spooner Sectional in 1966.
There were approximately 100 schools in the mix, many of which no longer exist, such as Saxon, Iron Belt, Hannibal, Draper, Iron River, Cable, Tripoli, Glidden, Centuria, Milltown, etc., etc.


There is literally next-to-nothing in Hannibal these days outside a few homes and a church. Former timber boomtown with a story not dissimilar to many in that region.
https://twitter.com/barwickipedia - Follow me. Because we all need a bit of sports snark in our lives.

"Doin' right ain't got no end."
-The Outlaw Josey Wales

"'Allegedly' is right, Mr. Polian. I have a hole in my ear drum, I'd never go for a swim, no matter how drunk me is."
-Pat McAfee
Quote 1 0
ckumpula
I've joked that the title of book #2 might actually be, "INTERESTING STUFF I FOUND WHILE RESEARCHING BOOK #1."
For example, this tidbit from the 2/25/1950 Superior Evening Telegram:  "Hannibal Cagers, Used to Outdoor Play, Lose Inside."  
CORNELL - The Hannibal high school basketball squad didn't have an outside chance on an indoor court Thursday night. Hannibal's home court is outdoors and the team isn't used to a gymnasium. So in district play in the WIAA basketball tournament Hannibal went the entire game without scoring a single field goal. This cost the boys a 37-5 defeat at the hands of Ingram-Glen Flora in a consolation tilt.

In the late 1940s neither Cable nor Gilman had gyms, either. That's why Cable assumed the nickname, "Eskimos." (Superior Evening Telegram, 1948) It was certainly a different world back then.

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db11
ckumpula wrote:
I've joked that the title of book #2 might actually be, "INTERESTING STUFF I FOUND WHILE RESEARCHING BOOK #1."
For example, this tidbit from the 2/25/1950 Superior Evening Telegram:  "Hannibal Cagers, Used to Outdoor Play, Lose Inside."  
CORNELL - The Hannibal high school basketball squad didn't have an outside chance on an indoor court Thursday night. Hannibal's home court is outdoors and the team isn't used to a gymnasium. So in district play in the WIAA basketball tournament Hannibal went the entire game without scoring a single field goal. This cost the boys a 37-5 defeat at the hands of Ingram-Glen Flora in a consolation tilt.

In the late 1940s neither Cable nor Gilman had gyms, either. That's why Cable assumed the nickname, "Eskimos." (Superior Evening Telegram, 1948) It was certainly a different world back then.


I can see how being used to playing basketball outdoors in northern Wisconsin in February would adversely affect your ability to play indoors!
https://twitter.com/barwickipedia - Follow me. Because we all need a bit of sports snark in our lives.

"Doin' right ain't got no end."
-The Outlaw Josey Wales

"'Allegedly' is right, Mr. Polian. I have a hole in my ear drum, I'd never go for a swim, no matter how drunk me is."
-Pat McAfee
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ckumpula
Best part of the story is that it had to be an anomaly; Hannibal wasn't that bad of a team. Under the old district/regional format not every team made the tournament. Committees met to pick the participants and chose only eight teams per small-school district tournament. Hannibal got in... the boys from Mellen (my alma mater) were left out despite beating three of the top five Indianhead Conference teams during that same 1950 season. Mellen immediately appealed after it was discovered that two of its regular-season wins hadn't been counted by the committee, but the WIAA determined that the deadline for appeals had passed. (Ashland Daily Press archive)  

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db11
Got my copy in the mail yesterday!
https://twitter.com/barwickipedia - Follow me. Because we all need a bit of sports snark in our lives.

"Doin' right ain't got no end."
-The Outlaw Josey Wales

"'Allegedly' is right, Mr. Polian. I have a hole in my ear drum, I'd never go for a swim, no matter how drunk me is."
-Pat McAfee
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gstacy
I remember shoveling off half court so we could play ball. but idk about practicing every day, those were some tough ball players back then.
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