Photo courtesy Alison GruebPhoto courtesy Alison Grueb

Longhorns Punch Ticket to Boys State B Basketball Tournament

In what some would say has been “a season to top them all” and others would coin “a great team to follow,” the Longhorns boys basketball Head Coach Travis Grueb describes as “a trifecta of dedication, unselfish athletes, and every person being a star in their role.”  
The Longhorns brought their dream of attending the State B Tournament as contenders to a reality last Thursday night winning their SoDak 16 game over the Northwestern Wildcats in Timber Lake.
To say Coach Grueb is excited to experience this trip to the State B Tournament with this team may be a bit of an understatement! To understand exactly why, we need to back up a few years. 
Coach Grueb accepted the position of Head Coach starting with the 2016-2017 season. Several years, wins, losses and graduating seniors later the 2019 - 2020 season got underway. It was an exciting season topped only by the SoDak 16 game played in Chamberlain against Mt. Marty which resulted in the Longhorns punching their ticket to the State Tournament in double overtime. Unfortunately, the Longhorns bid for a 2020 State Title was cut short. The reason? COVID 19 .... As we all remember everything came to a halt including basketball. Teams were given consolation ranking and everyone tried to cope with the loss of a dream, stay healthy and move on. 
Fast forward to the 2022 - 2023 season the 8th grade and freshman team members from 2020 are now juniors and seniors commanding the floor as varsity players. “Qualifying for State with this group of Longhorns is really special because they were on the 2020 team. They experienced the pride and  achievement of earning a place among the top 8 teams in the State vying for the title of Champion. Their season was cut short and they felt that. I felt that, it was my first trip to State as Head Coach. Now we all get the full experience. I’m especially excited for the team to have that,” said Coach Grueb.
When asked about the line up for the State Tournament and how the team sits going in Coach Grueb shared this, “We have an amazing team. Everyone does a great job and we are a team on and off the court. We can score against anybody. It’s exciting to watch them be completely dedicated to being a team! Watching this group work together to get the win without a selfish thought or action is really something special. There are eight really good teams going in this year and anybody who puts together three good games can win. We are going to work our hardest to do just that.”  
Coach Grueb also wanted to make sure to give credit to those behind the bench. “Without all of the parents, fans, community support and dedication we have it would be a tough go each week. Knowing we have so many people watching online and following along on the Facebook lives is a big deal. Everyone coming out and filling the stands at home and away cheering loud each week is tremendous. It doesn’t go unnoticed.”
The Longhorns will be traveling to Aberdeen today Wednesday, March 15, 2023, as this edition is published. They will have a practice from 2:00 - 3:00 pm central time(1:00 - 2:00 MST) today. They are Seed #4 with 45.200 points and a record of 22-1 going into the tournament. Faith will play their first game Thursday at 1:45 pm Central time(12:45pmMST) against Seed #5 White River who comes in with 44.950 points and a record of 19-4. Lower Brule #1 and Castlewood #8 will play the first game of the day. The first game of the evening session will be Aberdeen Christian #2 vs. Ethan #7. The second game will be De Smet #3 vs. Viborg-Hurley #6 to determine the brackets for Friday with championship games played Saturday. All Class B State Tournament games will be played at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen. For those who are not able to make in person, the games can be watched live at
For anyone wondering about the Longhorns and their run at the State title over the years, here are a few stats and fun facts about the team and coaches: The Longhorns made their first ever appearance at State in 2004. In total the Longhorns have punched their ticket a total of 9 times including 2023 and counting. Here are the years in order: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2020 and 2023. 
A correlation between the 2004 team and the 2023 team is a family tie. Dace Harper oldest son of Brian and Darci Harper was on the 2004 inaugural Longhorn trip to State. Dace’s younger brother senior, Jess Harper is on the 2023 Longhorn team. 
Assistant Coach Brock Williams was part of the 2010 Longhorn team who qualified for the State B Tournament. 
Doug Schauer began his Boys Head Coaching journey with  the 1991-1992 season. The 2015 trip to the State Tournament was Doug Schauer’s final trip as Head Coach. A lot of practices, miles and an infinite number of hours have been dedicated to the Longhorn boys basketball program by Coach Schauer over the years. This includes coaching both Head Coach Travis Grueb and Assistant Coach Brock Williams during their respective high school careers. 
What an exciting time to be a Longhorn! As the saying goes, “Once a Longhorn, always a Longhorn.” So let’s cheer loud and cheer proud! FHS! FHS! FHS! 

The Pioneer Review

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Philip, SD 57567
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