Last fall, Neighbors carried the story of the 1958 Wilton, N.D., basketball team which the coach gave up on and sent the boys home after the first half of the game because they were getting whipped so badly by the Washburn, N.D. team.
Arnold Jordheim, Walcott, N.D., responded to that column with a letter in which he said, “I was a member of the Walcott High School basketball team in the winter of 1952 which experienced a similar event, but for a different reason.
“Walcott,” Arnold wrote, “ then was a member of the ‘Little Sioux’ conference with the neighboring schools of Christine, Colfax, Abercrombie, Galchutt and a country high school called Antelope.
“This is the story of the time we were playing at Galchutt, in its very tiny gym, where the limited seating for the crowd had people sticking their feet almost on the playing floor.
“Galchutt had some players we called ‘the Berg boys’ who were big and rough.
“I remember there was a lot of shoving and elbowing going on.
“The refs were a couple of local Galchutt guys who weren’t really trained and certified referees, and we thought they were calling unfair fouls on us.
“It became almost impossible to play a fair and orderly game. At times some of the action on the floor nearly led to fisticuffs.
“And so, in the locker room in the basement during halftime,” Arnold says, “our coach, Bill Maclees, said, ‘Boys, get dressed, ‘cause we’re going home. This isn’t a ballgame but an uncontrolled scrap!’
“And so, before the start of the second half, we came out of the locker room fully dressed and headed for the door, to the boos of the partisan crowd.
“However, we later got our revenge at the conference tournament held at the State School of Science gym in Wahpeton, N.D., with actual certified referees; we won the conference championship fair and square.
“Small-town basketball,” Arnold concludes, “could get quite competitive and heated in those days!”
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