The Milaca Wolves paused for halftime during the March 2 varsity boys basketball game to hit play on a special video tribute to the team of players from 1988 who achieved the winningest season in Milaca’s history: 22-2.
According to player on that team and current Milaca teacher Jeff Meyer, the team also won the titles of Rum River Conference champions and District 18 champions. It was also section runner-up to the eventual state champion, De Lasalle. The Milaca basketball stars of yesteryear achieved a top rank of No. 3 in class A.
Meyer offered a list of 10 things the group recalls from its basketball glory days:
1. This group spent a lot of time together as kids. There wasn’t a lot of youth basketball or camp opportunities back then. Therefore, this group spent numerous hours playing basketball outdoors at the tar courts, which was located just north of the current Baptist church.
2. The year before the winning season, the players went to the Milaca Theater to see the movie “Hoosiers,” which was a motivation for the season.
3. The day the team won the district championship, there was a huge snow storm. The whole town had to make its way from Brainerd to Milaca barely able to see. Many chose to follow the bus home.
4. Bob Erickson, the Dairy Queen owner at that time, said if the team held an opponent scoreless in one quarter, he would buy the whole team double cheeseburgers. During one game that season the team held a team to zero points in a quarter. Therefore, all players, coaches, mangers, and cheerleaders received free double cheeseburgers.
5. The team of 1988 had cheerleaders Amy Byers, Jennifer Eggen, Kristie Oistad, Denise Schaffer, Nancy Shelton and Shannon Wagner.
6. In the playoffs, all pregame meals were held at Jays Drive-In and there was chicken all around.
7. One of Coach Perry’s rules was every player had to wear a hat during the season to prevent illness.
8. The team’s motto was “to run is fun,” which was taken from St. Cloud State’s “the run is fun.” The logo apparel showed up saying “to run,” but the team liked it so they went with it.
9. Games against Princeton and Sauk Rapids were standing room only, and sometimes the gym was also packed during JV games.
10. Meyer said: “In 2016, we lost a very special member/person of this team in Terry DeShaw. The team missed him at the game and celebration. He will always be remembered and never ever forgotten.”