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April 2014

18

Playing Days: Kevin Flegner

Arrowhead AD recalls monster season

More than 20 years have passed since a guard from Randolph High School threatened the state's single-season scoring record. Now the athletics director at Arrowhead High School, Kevin Flegner, looked back on the 1989-90 season when he registered 996 points in just 25 games (39.8 average).

The senior fell one game short of the state tournament that season after qualifying with the Rockets the two preceding years, then went on to play two years at NCAA Division 1 Northeastern Illinois before transferring to the University of Sioux Falls for two years. He played semipro basketball in the International Basketball League - what has essentially been replaced today by the National Basketball Development League - and performed for a team in Rapid City.

At the time, Flegner's 996 points was just 5 points shy of the state record, held by Mickey Crowe in 1974-75. Since, Wausaukee's Anthony Pieper has registered the top total (1,063) and second-highest (1,032) in back-to-back years in the early 90s. Flegner's total is still the fourth-most in state history.

Flegner played for Randy Hasselquist, who was in his final year before handing the reins to JV coach Bob Haffele, now in his 21st season at Randolph with eight state championships under his belt - including four straight from 2002 to 2005.

QCan you describe what it was that prompted such a huge season scoring? What had your role been prior to that season and how did it change heading into the 89-90 campaign?

A The previous year, I averaged 25 points a game but I had a great supporting cast, including two seniors. One was Paul Roberts, the son of (Randolph AAU coach) Hugh Roberts, and he averaged 22 and we had another guy, Mike DeFriese, who averaged 20. We had a pretty good scoring connection there. Going into my senior year, there was minimal varsity experience, and we were pretty senior-dominated team my junior year. Scoring kind of fell on my shoulders, being the only returning starter and letterwinner.

QWhat skills separated you from your peers?

A I would say my biggest trait was the ability to move without the ball. That probably was the most important piece because most nights, I was double and triple teamed. I had to find a way to get to the open area and find the ball. Most of my points were in the 12 to 17 (foot) range. I did shoot the three, but I did not live and die by it. The other trait was I was able to draw fouls. I averaged about 15 to 18 times a game at the free-throw line. I was able to get to the rim. We averaged all three years in the mid-70s (in scoring).

QAt any point were you aware of Mickey Crowe's state scoring record?

A I had no idea. For me, it was really all about leading my team to winning. All of the individual accolades came along with the winning. There was never any discussion. The only record ever brought to my attention was when I was on the verge of breaking the Randolph school scoring record, midway through senior year (1,916 points). They have a long history of great players, which even dates back to the 60s. My dad was a graduate of Randolph. Our team was the first to ever reach state (during my sophomore year). Back in 1962, my dad (Larry) was a starting guard and they only had one division. They lost one game before state, and that's the closest Randolph had ever gone. We're one of two father-son combinations on the Randolph scoring (leaderboard).

QHow did your final season at Randolph finish out?

A We were 21-4 and lost in the sectional final to the eventual state champion Darlington (by 3 points). Aaron Lancaster was on that team, and we beat them one year prior. When I was there, I played the last six games of my freshman year up on varsity. I was very fortunate to have four conference championships, four regional titles, two sectional titles and two trips to state.

QSurely fans must have known you were close to 1,000 points in one season.

A It was more the media and more the coaching staff because it's kind of a neat thing, I guess. It prints papers, but for me it was all about making sure that we repeated as the conference champion. Everybody's dream is to make it down to state and play in The Barn (UW-Fieldhouse), just like it's any kid's dream now to play in the Kohl Center. Once you get a taste of that, you definitely want to get back there. I couldn't complain since we had been down there the previous two years.

QDid you wear those tennis shoes with the little pumps? Be honest.

A I wore the Nike Revolution. I did not wear the Spud Webb pumps. It was 1984 when those pumps came out, and I was in eighth grade that year.

QGiven that your scoring total hasn't been threatened in years, has your perspective on the accomplishment changed over time?

A When you go through it, you take things for granted happening around you. We just had our 20-year reunion. You look back and talk with all your buddies … it really was a great accomplishment. Forty points a game, that's unheard of in today's realm. You see low 30s winning the state scoring title these days. I attribute it to great coaches who had great schemes to help me get the shots that I needed. I had great teammates who were always aware of where I was and got me the ball. Hugh Roberts most definitely was my greatest influence with basketball, besides my dad. I believe who I was and who I am now as an athletic director in the high school world were shaped by those people.

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