Photo courtesy Alison Grueb

Longhorns place 7th in State B Basketball Tournament

The excitement was palpable and the buzz in the air was electrifying... and that was just Wednesday morning as the Longhorns prepared to board the bus and make the trip to Aberdeen for the State B Boys Basketball Tournament. 
Head Coach Travis Grueb couldn’t be more proud of the team and everything they have accomplished this season. “We started the year with a lot of enthusiasm and hope. In our first meetings in November we recognized that we had the talent. I’m sure most teams that time of year think the same thing.  The difference I saw was the work ethic, practice and the brotherhood they brought to practice. 
In December we put stretches of games together where we played really well but we were inconsistant and soft. January we started to put entire quarters together and really started to be more physical. February hit and we were ranked 5th in the state, our guys believed in themselves and each other, they won the LMC tournament and were putting entire games together.  With that ranking came a lot of pressure, because every team is going to give you their best shot.  Our guys never blinked, they never let the ranking go to their heads.  They just came to practice every day with the same attitude and work ethic.  We got better each and everyday and when March got here I felt we were prepared to handle every team. In the SODAK 16 game we were up big at half time but we knew that Northwestern was going to put a run together.  I thought our guys showed incredible poise and resilience in that game.  They stuck together and believed in each other punching their ticket to the State Tournament.”
“Our first game against White River didn’t go as planned, but the effort was great and as a coach that is all you can ask.  I tell the guys all the time if you give me everything you got, that is all I can ask for. 
In the second game against Castlewood I could tell the boys were hungry and wanted to get the win.  In the opening minutes Jess Harper sprained his ankle.  He is such a big part of our offense. We just couldn’t get settled in and we were always pressing to find it in that game. 
With the third game against Ethan we had time to make a game plan for not having Jess on the court.  Changing so much in your game plan, especially at the State Tournament can make it a battle. When you find yourself in the 7th and 8th place game after setting the goal of winning the whole thing, can be really hard.  The credit for the win against Ethan goes to each and every member of this team.  They came out with incredible energy, desire and they were locked in,” said Grueb. 
The Longhorns dominated the court with a final score of 75 to 56 garnering the Longhorns 7th place overall. For a bit of perspective the Boys Class B starts the season with 73 teams vying for a place among the top 8 in the State and only 4 of those teams end the Tournament with a win.
Coach Grueb again credits the  support of so many to the teams success. “ To everyone that feels proud every time they put a longhorn shirt on, or their favorite colors are orange and black, we appreciate you. We could feel your support whether you were at the games, watching online or just getting text updates.  Your support of these kids are what being a longhorn is all about. I feel privileged every time we take the floor 
to be the coach of this team.  Horns Up!!”
Once a Longhorn, always a Longhorn rang true this last weekend as the stands were full of orange and black in Aberdeen. The Longhorns student cheering section did a great job of keeping the crowd standing, clapping, and cheering for the Longhorns! Current and alum Longhorns who were not able to be in Aberdeen cheered from near and far and watched online or SDPB. Longhorn Pride runs deep and over time has created family legacies. 
Noting Longhorn legacies, here a few more fun facts this week about the Longhorns.
On page 10 you will see a pictures of three sisters and their “little” brothers. The ladies in the picture were all part of the 2012 girls team trip to the State B Tournament, while their “little” brothers are all members of the 2023 boys team who punched their ticket to State. 
Another nod to Longhorn legacy, a true testament to dedication, a love of basketball and most of all family is Betty Hulm. 
Betty graduated in 1959 having played basketball in her high school career. In 1963 Betty wed Arlen and had four children. 
The oldest Darla started playing basketball in middle school in 1975 which meant Betty started regularly attending basketball games. Arlie, Melinda, and Adela followed and continued to play basketball throughout school. The baby of the family, Adela graduated in 1997 bringing an end to the Hulm kids names gracing basketball programs. This didn’t stop Betty attending games though, she continued to support the Longhorns as the seasons rolled on.
A new chapter began in 2002 when Betty once again was not just cheering for the Longhorns she was cheering for family on the court as her grandchildren were old enough to compete. The 2022 -2023 season has been especially fun for Betty to cheer on the Longhorns as her grandchild Caden and great-grandchild Rylan played together on the Varsity team. “A trip to State was icing on the cake!” In all Betty has been playing or watching  basketball for 67 years and counting with a short 5 year break without herself, kids or grandkids listed on the roster. Betty could probably give all of us a few tips after watching that many games over the years!
Editors Note:
What a ride this season has been Longhorns! Your community, family, friends and fans are so incredibly proud of you and everything you have accomplished. Be proud you are forever listed in history as one of the elite 8 of 2023!  

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
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