Here is a tribute to the beauty of small-town basketball.
Aberdeen 50-year reunion
This is why you need to keep newspapers alive: Elaine Blick, the editor of the Aberdeen Times, was looking through the archives of her paper not too long ago, when she realized this season marks the 50th anniversary of Aberdeen High School winning the state A-2 basketball championship. She contacted Steve Hayes, the star of that team, to see if he would be willing to come home for a reunion event. Hayes agreed, and also provided her with contact information for a number of his former teammates.
With the exception of Glen Muirbrook, who passed away, and one former teammate who was scheduled to play in a golf tournament in Arizona, all of the 1973 Tigers gathered at The White Barn reception center in Aberdeen to celebrate. Verlyn Hoagland, who coached the team, lives in St. George, Utah, and couldn’t make the trip, but he was represented by his son Kevin.
Here’s the roster of that 1973 Aberdeen team, who beat Gooding, Wallace and Grangeville at the state tournament for the title:
- Tim Satterfield, junior, guard
- Jeff Isaak, junior, guard
- J.D. Farrens, junior, guard
- Mike Cardona, junior, guard.
- Danny Fehringer, senior, forward.
- Layton Anderson, junior, guard.
- Rick Farrens, sophomore, forward.
- David Maisch, junior, forward.
- Steve Hayes, senior, center.
- Glen Muirbrook, junior, forward.
- Coaches: Verlyn Hoagland and Mel Skeen
Hayes, who was listed at 6-9 that year, grew to be a 7-foot center who went on to lead Idaho State to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament as a senior, then played for six different teams in the NBA. He averaged 32 points a game in the state tournament, including a record 43-performance in the title game with Grangeville, where he outscored the entire Bulldog team in a 77-40 route.
In that championship game, Hayes matched up against Ken Schrom, who later went on to pitch seven seasons with three different teams in the majors, and was named to the All-Star game in 1986 while with the Cleveland Indians.
“What are the odds of having a future NBA player and major league pitcher compete in that game?” Hayes said.
Hayes’ Aberdeen teammates included Mike Cardona, who went on to a 45-year career as a basketball and football official in southeast Idaho; Tim Satterfield, who just retired from teaching and coaching in Aberdeen; and Jeff Isaak, who was a teacher and coach at Aberdeen and North Fremont.
Aberdeen’s toughest competition that season came within their own district. The Tigers played Bear Lake five times that year, twice in the regular season, and then three times in the double-elimination district tournament. Bear Lake won three of the five contests, but both teams advanced to state, where the Bears lost in the first round to Grangeville by two points.
Ken Parks and Earl Burdick were two of the star players for that Bear Lake team, and when they found out about the Aberdeen 50th-year reunion, both showed up to see their former rivals and relive old memories.
“How cool is that,” Hayes said. “That is what small-town high school basketball is all about. You grow up playing against the same guys in junior high and high school, and bonds form.”
Burdick was 6-foot-6 and had good hops. “He was the only guy in the districts I had to worry about blocking my shot,” Hayes said.
Parks, meanwhile, was also a football star and played cornerback and returned kicks at Idaho State. He went on to a very successful coaching career at Bear Lake in football, basketball and girls softball, winning state titles in basketball and softball. Burdick, meanwhile, coached in the North Gem and Snake River school districts.
One of Hayes’ friends captured on video a lively discussion among Hayes, Burdick and Parks at the reunion that was priceless. The highlight was Parks telling about Hayes’ first game as a freshman at Idaho State. The stands were packed with fans waiting for the local star to make his collegiate debut. ISU coach Jim Killingsworth motioned Hayes into the game and the gangly 7-footer headed toward the scorer’s table “and trips and falls right on his face,” Parks said with a laugh. “That’s the quickest I’ve ever seen him move — you should have seen how fast he got up.”
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