Marshall magic, 50 years later

MARSHALL – When members of the Marshall High School basketball team returned home after winning its first state championship in 1963, the welcome waiting for them was amazing, team member Terry Porter said. Although 50 years had passed, that intense appreciation hadn’t.

Marshall Tiger supporters of all ages celebrated the anniversary of the 1963 championship by welcoming team members back in a ceremony at Friday night’s boys’ basketball game. Porter and teammates John Nefstead and Dennis Schroeder, and coach George Korver, were called onto center court and given a standing ovation. Members of the current MHS team came out to shake their hands.

It felt strange to think that state championship was so long ago, team members said.

“After 50 years, it makes you take a deep breath,” Nefstead said.

It wasn’t possible for all the surviving members of the 1963 championship team to be present at Friday’s ceremony, but Marshall Activities Director Bruce Remme read each player’s name aloud and talked about the story of the state victory. The 1963 championship, when Marshall beat Cloquet 75-74, showed that anything was possible, Remme said. The victory was even more remarkable, because at that time more than 400 high school basketball teams across the state played in the same class.

“It was quite an achievement,” Schroeder said of the team’s victory. However, he was quick to point out, “It was a team effort.” It couldn’t have happened without the coaches, the players working together, or support from the community.

The team members were also present for a meet and greet session before the game Friday night. Memorabilia, including the 1963 state trophy and a section of the old MHS gymnasium floor where the team used to play, were also on display.

“It’s good to see the guys,” Schroeder said of coming back to MHS with his old teammates. It was also exciting to be there for the people who had supported the team.

Porter said being present at Friday’s basketball game was a way to return the appreciation Marshall fans showed the team. Their support was of the most memorable experiences of the 1963 championship, he said. He figured most of the town had to have been in the stands cheering the team on at state.

“We had the best supporters in the state,” Porter said. “It seemed like they always made the most noise out of any group at the tournament.”