Flashback Friday: Breuer, Lake City completed memorable prep basketball run 40 years ago

March 08, 2019 08:13 AM

It was halftime of the 1979 Class A state championship boys basketball game and Randy Breuer and his Lake City teammates found themselves in a highly unfamiliar position - trailing on the scoreboard.

A talented Howard Lake-Waverly team had gotten hot and took a two-point lead into the locker room at the break.


"I think that was the first game all year we'd been behind at halftime," the over-7-foot-2 Breuer recalled. "That Wackler kid (Mark) was hitting every shot he was taking. He was really good. But our coach (Jerry Snyder) wasn't upset. We just focused on making a couple of adjustments. And we were able to come back."

Led by Breuer, of course, Lake City indeed rallied to post a 63-50 victory before a crowd of 11,711 at the old St. Paul Civic Center on March 10, 1979 - 40 years ago this week.

It marked the Tigers' second-straight state championship. Breuer, one of the top players in Minnesota prep history, finished the tournament with 113 points in three games - breaking a tournament record.

"It wasn't just me," Breuer said. "That was a very good team. I scored a lot of points. But we had so many talented players. I remember we had a kid named Richie Dahman who got brought up to the varsity when another player broke their hand. And he had a really big tournament for us. We had a lot of depth."

Too much for a good Howard Lake-Waverly team to overcome.

"(Breuer) was one of the best players ever to come out of the state of Minnesota," said Ken Kutz, then a senior center for Howard Lake-Waverly. "Looking back, you have to give him a lot of credit. He worked really hard to get himself to where he eventually got."

Where he eventually landed was the University of Minnesota, where he was a two-time All-Big Ten center who led the Gophers to the 1981-82 Big Ten championship.

From there, it was on to the NBA where he spent time with the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings.

His college jersey was retired by the U of M during a ceremony in 2015 at Williams Arena.

It all started on his family's farm.

"We put a piece of cement down in front of the barn and there was an old telephone pole there," he remembered. "We put a plywood basketball hoop on it with a net. I put a free throw line down and marked the court. And I'd just spend time shooting the ball from all those spots."

The practice was already paying off by junior high when those around Lake City began to see the signs of something special brewing. Those expectations were realized during the Tigers' remarkable two-season run covering Breuer's junior and senior years.

"Those state tournaments rank right up there," said Breuer when asked to look back on his basketball accomplishments. "There was a lot of excitement in town. In fact the whole town left when we were playing. If you had wanted to rob a building in Lake City, that would have been a great time to do it. Except for the fact that they rolled up all the sidewalks.

"But that's the case with any small town that makes it to state. There's all sorts of buzz in the coffee shop and at the gas station. And when the games come around, everybody loads up their car and drives to the Twin Cities.  It's a cool thing to have been part of."

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Frank Rajkowski

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