It Did Happen Here
Astoria's famed fighting Fishermen, who bowed to the traditional "13" jinx las year, are back again. The colorful coastal city's preppers are the "daddy" of all state tournament teams, having competed in 18 of the 20 play-offs. After gaining entrance 13 straight times, the Fishermen weren't present in 1938, relinquishing their place to St. Helens.
Not all of this year's tournament entries are veterans to the four-day prep classic, however. It's the first capital city jaunt for three of the "B" schools - Butte Falls, Westport and Arlington.
For all the "A" schools, tournies are old stuff. Next to Astoria and Salem, the host team, it's Medford, making its 12th visit.
Tillamook is present for the ninth time, and McMinnville, Baker, Pendleton and Klamath Falls are here for the seventh time. None of the others are strangers to tourney fans, although it's only trip number three for Oregon City.
Veteran fans question if the string of record-breaking scorers will continue this year. Ted Sarpola, Astoria, set a mark of 59 points in the 1936 tournament, but a teammate, Earl Sandness, elongated center, cracked that with 68 points in 1937.
Then last year a crack-shooting forward from University high of Eugene, Leonard Gard by name, went them all one better by piling up the sensational four-game scoring total of 80 points. It was mostly on field goals, 42 of them, for Gard was just about the 1938 tournament's worst shot from the foul line, making only 12 of 38 free throws.
Sarpola, however, retains the record for the most points in one game, 27, against Myrtle Creek in 1936, and his 13 field goals in that tilt still stands as the most buckets in one game.
Gard came close to cracking those records too, collecting 26 points against Chiloquin, 24 of the points on 12 field goals.
Astoria, finishing fifth in 1937, nevertheless, established the all-time team scoring record. The Fishermen collected 180 points in four games, bettering the 163 mark established by Corvallis in 1936 - also in four games - as well as the five game 1929 total of Washington, 179 points.
University high, with Gard on the rampage, scored 172 points last year.
Closest championship games in the history of the tournament were the first ever held, in 1920, when Salem nosed out Lincoln of Portland, 12 to 11, and in 1923, when University of Eugene beat out Astoria in the title final, 28 to 25.
Pilot Rock holds the dubious honor of having scored the least points in a tourney tilt, only five against Independence, in 1924. Eugene scored the most, 65 against Joseph, in 1922.
Three of the greatest basketball players in northwest hoop history have performed for tournament fans. Ed Lewis, who won All-American honors as Oregon State's center, was all-state pivot man for Washington high of Portland in 1928 and 1929. jWally Palmberg, who also competed for O.S.C., won all-state honors as a member of Astoria's 1931 and 1932 teams. Latest to win laurels is Laddie Gale, record-breaking University of Oregon forward, given the all-state nod in 1935 when he paced little Oakridge to the tournament semi-finals.
Only two players, Sarpola of Astoria and Glen Sanford of Salem, have ever won three all-state berths. Sanford pulled the trick in 1930, 1931 and 1932; Sarpola duplicating in 1934, 1935 and 1936.
Melvin, Medford forward, barely missed equalling this mark. He was selected first-string all-state in '28 and '29 and second-string in '27.
Three brother combinations have scored all-state "doubles" victories - the Gill boys of Salem, in 1920, the Pendleton Kramers in 1922 and the Dragers of Salem in 1926, are the trio.
Bill Morgan, the big All-American University of Oregon football tackle, now a professional grid star, was Medford's all-state guard in 1928 and 1929.
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