South Milwaukee has a proud basketball past. But don’t take my word for it.
Instead, listen to Tom Oates, a respected sports writer with the Wisconsin State Journal, who has put two Rocket basketball players on his all-WIAA State Tournament Team. The players should come as no surprise to South Milwaukee basketball historians …
Kurt Nimphius (Third Team)
Despite being one of the first truly athletic big men in the state tournament, Nimphius never strayed far from the basket on either end. As a result, he dominated the 1976 Class A tournament like few players ever have, leading South Milwaukee to three victories and a 25-0 season.
Nimphius scored 97 points, to this day the second-highest total ever in the tournament, in victories over heavyweights Milwaukee Washington, Madison West and Eau Claire Memorial. He also led the tournament with 40 rebounds. The Rockets started four role players around Nimphius, making his 30-point, 11-rebound effort in their 45-43 victory over coach Dick Bennett’s Old Abes in the title game even more remarkable. Nimphius hit a short jumper — his specialty — with 46 seconds left to break a 43-43 tie.
Nimphius played four years at Arizona State and was named All-Pac-10 as a senior. He also played eight seasons in the NBA.
Jay Schauer (Fifth Team)
Schauer was a sophomore when he led South Milwaukee to the 1952 state title. He never got the Rockets back to Madison during his stellar prep career, but he left a significant mark while he was there.
A smooth operator for a big man, Schauer scored 55 points and grabbed 56 rebounds in three games, both tournament bests. His 56 rebounds set a record that still stands more than 60 years later. In South Milwaukee’s 61-54 victory over Stevens Point in the final, Schauer scored 15 points and snared 26 rebounds, the latter another record that has never been matched.
Schauer played one season at Marquette before giving up the sport to concentrate on his studies.
And the tradition continues in recent years. Consider Austin Stueck. Here is an update from South Milwaukee Athletic Department …
AUSTIN STUECK (Class of 2012)
In a beginning of the season email, you were alerted to the fact that Austin was closing in on the 1,000 point plateau. Well, as the NACC Conference scoring leader this season at over 20 ppg he flew past that mark and now has over 1,350 points!
With his fantastic performance this season, the MSOE junior also became the first 2-time winner of the NACC Player of the Year award! Can’t wait to see what he does next year!
As for this year’s team, the Rockets beat Bay View/Lifelong Learning but lost to Greendale in the regionals last week.