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Wednesday

April 2014

23

Boys basketball

Legendary streak began after HHS win

Hamilton’s Terry Youngbauer makes a basket for the Chargers in 1977. The all-time leading scorer in Hamilton history (since bypassed by three Chargers) was part of the last team to defeat Dominican before a 62-game winning streak.

Hamilton’s Terry Youngbauer makes a basket for the Chargers in 1977. The all-time leading scorer in Hamilton history (since bypassed by three Chargers) was part of the last team to defeat Dominican before a 62-game winning streak. Photo by:

Waltzing back in time to 1977, Jimmy Carter was president, Lynn Dickey and David Whitehurst were calling plays for the Green Bay Packers and Brian Winters was the Milwaukee Bucks' top gunner.

And on Nov. 19, Hamilton's varsity boys basketball team stunned the local prep basketball world. The Chargers got the best of Whitefish Bay Dominican, a powerhouse then and now, 61-54.

That was the last time the Knights lost for a while. Dominican went on to win 62 consecutive games, a state record that still stands ... at least for the time being. Germantown, winners of 57 consecutive games entering December, would match that record with four victories prior to a date with, believe it or not, Dominican on Dec. 14.

St. Thomas More is mostly credited with ending the streak, though that outcome was later overturned because of the Cavaliers' use of an ineligible player, and the streak technically extended to 68. Still, Dominican acknowledges the run as 62 games long.

Hamilton, a powerful program in its own right under legendary coach Rich Ludka, made good on 17 of 22 free throws in front of a spirited crowd.

With the game tied 36-36 early in the third quarter, Ludka called timeout and ordered a full-court press, and Hamilton gained control over the Knights. Tony Taubner knocked down a jumper before Tim Patterson scored on a layup to put the Chargers ahead. Bruce Pearson jumped into the act with a steal off an inbound pass against the then-WISAA opponent.

Terry Youngbauer, who stood as the program's all-time leading scorer for three decades, remembers the scene well.

"Wow, it was up and down, and basically a 1 or 2 point game the whole way," Youngbauer said. "There was a tremendous crowd. People up in the wrestling room watching, people standing. It was something else. We knew they were good and we knew we were also, so you didn't think all that much of it at the time, but looking back, you realize we were part of something special."

Scott Vandenberg, a 6-8 post presence, led the Chargers with 19 points. Patterson and Pearson each reached double figures with 10 points. Taubner finished the night with 9 points, and Youngbauer added 6 points. Pat Konkol had 4 points and Tim Schweiger added 3 tallies.

Youngbauer said Dan O'Rourke was a key floor player in the game for the Chargers.

Dominican was led by Mark Moore with 29 points. Kevin Lemon finished with 9 points for the Knights. Lemon is the father of former Hamilton girls basketball player Courtney Lemon.

"We knew they were a very good basketball team; everyone talked about them," Patterson said. "It was something I'll never forget."

Dominican played the game without the services of Greg Dandridge, who went on to play college basketball at the University of Wisconsin. Dandridge was out with an early-season injury.

"There were a lot of comments about the fact he didn't play, and that was a big reason why we beat them," Patterson said.

Ludka was humble to say the least after the victory.

"We really didn't play that great tonight," Ludka told the Menomonee Falls News afterward. "But for what we had the time to work on in practice, we did really well. The Dominican team had an extra week of practice and went to WISAA State last year. I was kind of worried."

The rest was history.

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