Do you like stats?
As I spend time with former coaches, players, at our library and "on the line," I come across all sorts of fun facts about area high school athletes and coaches of the past. I love history, so it's enjoyable to look back at the wonderful accomplishments of individuals and teams.
There are so many stories to tell. And, I'm humbled to share them with you. As time creeps up on us all, it's harder to remember yesterday, let alone 50 years ago. You don't recognize the face in the mirror? Join the club. "Who in the hell is that," you ask? But thanks to the internet and solid record keeping of some coaches, we're able to put together some cool stats for your reading pleasure.
Do young folks read the paper anymore? I don't know. Anyway, for those who want to remember but can't, here some stuff for you.
'Tis the season. Basketball season. Here are some fun hometown stats the old Braves are sure to enjoy.
Cherokee boys' basketball career scoring leader is 1992 graduate Jason Anderson with 1,307 points. He is followed in order by current Cherokee Coach Mark Hurd with 1,154 (2 years at Meriden-Cleghorn, 2 at Cherokee); 3. Chad Jenness with 1,106 (1990); 4. Mike Gianopolus 1,081 (1962); 5. Kyle Peterson 1,064 (1986); 6. Tom Graves 1035 (1967); 7. Brock Dagel 943 (2011); 8. Al Anderson 927 (1984); 9. Mark Perrin 904 (1971); 10. Steve Mahnke 889 (1978); 11. Gabe Pieper 887 (1993); 12. Dean Schnoes 866 (1976); 13. Bruce Lindell 746 (1982); 14. Damon Miller 711 (1993).
Anderson also holds Cherokee's individual mark for most points in a season (509) in 1991, while Gianopolus ranks first in most rebounds in a season (308) during the 1957-58 campaign. Schnoes claims the Cherokee single game scoring record with 41 points in 1976. Prior to that, a best of 34 was shared by Gianopolus (1960), Al Wichtendahl (1969), John Ambrose (1969) and Perrin (1971).
The best season records by the Braves were set in 1952 (21-2, state tourney); 1972 (18-4 substate finalist); 1973 (17-4); 1975 (21-1 state tourney); 1977 (16-2); 1984 (20-1 state
tourney); 1991 (17-5); 1992 (19-2); 1993 (17-4). Making the state tournament were the Braves of '52, '75 and '84.
Cherokee won Lakes Conference titles 11 times. Spencer leads the Lakes with 20 titles, followed by Estherville (16), Cherokee (11), Storm Lake (11), Spirit Lake (10), Sibley (5), Emmetsburg (5), and Sheldon (3). The league looks different now, with
powerhouse programs of LeMars and Hull-Western Christian in the mix. Emmetsburg, Sheldon and Sibley are gone. I anticipate more changes to come. Cherokee teams bringing home the league crown were the squads of 1936, 1948, 1952, 1963, 1965, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1984, 1992 and 1993.
The 1975 squad of Coach Dick Point posted our town's best state tourney finish, runner-up in Class 2A that year. Point was at the helm for many Cherokee's bright moments. He was in charge for 19 years here, recording a 228-145 record with five Lakes
Conference titles and two state tourney berths. Point was named "District Coach of theYear" an impressive six times. He won seven district and conference titles and was inducted into the Iowa Coaches' Hall of Fame in 1995. Point's 1975 and '84 state tourney teams finished with perfect regular season records. "We had a lot of blue collar players here," said Point. "They were hard working kids who didn't like to lose. I was blessed with a lot of talented players here with great work ethic."
The Pocahontas native could also play the game, garnering Iowa All-Conference first team status as a guard for Buena Vista College in 1963 and '64.
Finishing second to Point in wins as Cherokee's head coach is the late Ray Knauer, who finished 99-77 here in nine years with two league crowns in the 1960s. Bill Luther (63-38) took the 1952 team to state, AND HE IS FOLLOWED IN WINS BY followed by Art Sutton (32-43 in 1957-60), Rich
Vanderloo (31-11, 1973-74), Otto Huebner (22-16, 1950-51) and Dennis Johnson (18-40, 1967-1969).
When you look at free throws, Larry Graves went 15-15 in a game in 1971, Tom Ambrose was nex with 11-11 in 1965 and Steve Larson was 9-9 in 1964. Larson holds the record for the most free throws made in a game at 18 in 1964.
Assists. Andy Schmillen is tops with 196 in the 1984 season while Craig Lickiss handed out 15 assists in a game against Storm Lake in 1978. Damon Miller owns the assist career crown with 456 established in 1993.
Jason Anderson is the man who could pull the trigger and hit the target. Jason set the all-time best field goal shooting percentage for Cherokee in a season, hitting on a 61.4% clip in 1991, narrowly besting 1972 cager Dan "Swede" Anderson, who hit 108 of 181 for 59.7%.
Damon Miller, owns the single game title with 15 of 15 buckets in a game against Sergeant Bluff in '91. What up, Damon? 100%!!
You want to learn to shoot free throws, go up on Hill Street here and watch Craig Lickiss knock 'em down. He hit a blistering 93.5% of his attempts (29-31 in 1978). The guy who shot more free throw than anybody was unflappable Steve Larson (99-120, 84.6%) in 1964. Few Braves shot over 100 free throws in a season.
Rebounds, hands down, Dean Schnoes. Cherokee's first-team all-class all-stater had a season high of 296 rebounds in 1975 and a school career record of 605. Gianopoulis takes the single game rebound title with 33 in 1960. Team-wise, Cherokee's '72 sub-state squad holds the overall rebound record with 1,008, bettering the old mark of 887 set in the1961-62 season.
On March 27, 1987, Iowa became the first state to adopt the use of the three point field goal from beyond a new line... boom...the three pointer quickly changed how the game is coached and played. According to our records, leading Cherokee's long range bomb attack is current Braves' Head Coach Mark Hurd. He had the guts of a burglar, ice in his veins, netting 58 three pointers in 1990, and finishing with a career best of 112 that year.
The 1993 Braves own the best offensive average by a Cherokee squad with a 75.8 scoring clip, bettering the old mark of 74.5 established by the Braves of '72.
Whew! That's a lot of information. There's always more, but that enough for now. As Red Skelton used to say, "Good night, and may God bless."