If you’re visiting Mineral Point on Thursday, don’t be surprised if there’s no one here. The boys basketball team is headed to state for the first time in 41 years. For the last few games, the limited number of available tickets have sold out in less than an hour. Pointer fans in attendance at these games are estimated to be well over 500. Not bad for a town of 2487.
Luckily, the Kohl Center can accommodate the entire town.
This is the third time in the 100 year history of the WIAA Boys Basketball tournament that MP has made this historic journey to Madison. The first time was the 1934-35 season. The trophy from that year stands proudly in the trophy case as you come into the high school.
Although the “Pride of Mineral Point” (shown below) fell short, they were heartened by the overwhelming community support. Over 500 residents of Mineral Point headed to Madison to cheer on the team as they competed in the State Tournament.
Keep in mind, this was 1935. Getting to Madison from Mineral Point wasn’t as easy as getting on Hwy. 151 and going 65 miles an hour.
Forty years later, at a rally for the 1974 team, Harry Ivey remembered how big the venue seemed to the ’34/’35 Pointers and advised the 1974 team “not to look up” as they took the floor in Madison.
The 1974 team was big news. Their berth at the state tournament was reported above the fold in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Two of the loyal fans from ’74, Sandy Weitzel and Sue Gevelinger shared their scrap books with us.
What follows is a small fraction of what they saved.
The photos of Merle Freymiller praying (above) and Sandy Weitzel’s tear-stained face (below), tell the story of the outcome.
Despite the loss, the team returned home to a massive rally, demonstrating that they were “number one where it counted — in the hearts of the Mineral Point and area residents.” The celebration included a conga line of alumni cheerleaders led by Pascalena Dahl, mother of Mineral Point’s current Athletic Director, Vickie Dahl.
Like the two state teams before them, the 2014-15 Pointers have secured a place in history and in the hearts of their legion of fans. They will long be remembered for coming so far and treating the town to this wonderful ride.
Whether you are new to town, or a life-long resident, come to Madison Thursday night to cheer on the boys. A big batch of tickets go on sale tomorrow at the high school office. School starts late on Friday, so you can pack up the kids and bring them to the 8:15 pm game.
If we’re loud enough, the Kohl Center won’t seem so large to our small town team. And, if any of the boys happen to look up (contrary to Harry Ivey’s advice) they will see their hometown bursting with pride.
– Contributed by Don and Lisa Hay with a big thanks to Sandy Weitzel and Sue Wheeler Gevelinger (shown below, bottom left) for sharing their memories and their scrapbooks.