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Opinion
Tim Giago: The basketball miracle of 1936


"One of those rare, sports miracles happened in South Dakota 70 years ago.

It all came about when the State decided to create a new basketball class for smaller schools. The Class “B” designation became a reality in 1936 and the first playoffs for the state title ensued.

On the Pine Ridge Reservation in Western South Dakota a group of Lakota boys attending Oglala Community School at Pine Ridge Village played a version of basketball that evolved around a sound defense. Their aggressive style of defense came from the hours of playing basketball in the school gym. Many of the boys were boarders at the school and, in fact, the school itself was often referred to as “The Boarding School.”

The boys, in actuality, grew up together. They started to play one-on-one basketball from the time they were able to cradle a basketball and gain the strength to shoot it at the baskets that appeared to be 80 feet in the air to them. Every recess and every evening after school saw the boys shooting baskets and learning to guard the boy dribbling the basketball.

The object of their game was to keep the boy with the ball from getting off a shot or getting under the basket. In later years this aggressive style would cost future Indian teams many close games."

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: The basketball miracle of 1936 (The Native American Times 3/6)

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