40 years ago, this happened …
At tonight’s city council meeting, we’re proud to honor members of the state champion 1975-76 South Milwaukee boys’ basketball team.
The Rockets finished the season 25-0 – at the time, one of only 17 teams to go undefeated to win a state boys title, scoring 74.6 points per game while holding opponents to an average of 52.5 points.
They defeated Milwaukee Washington in the state quarterfinals, Madison West in the semifinals and Eau Claire Memorial and coach Dick Bennett in the finals, with Kurt Nimphius hitting a short jumper with 46 seconds left en route to a thrilling 45-43 victory in the championship.
It was the end of a historic season for Nimphuis, who would go on to play collegiately at Arizona State and play in the NBA for eight seasons. He scored 30 points in the final and 97 points in the three games in Madison, which still stands as the second-highest total in the tournament. He had 40 rebounds in the three games.
The team was coached by Jerry Sullivan, who went 223-98 at South Milwaukee, was named state Coach of the Year in 1976, was inducted in to the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1983 and had the new high school gymnasium named in his honor in 2006.
The state championship team began their careers together in the South Milwaukee Recreation Department in fifth grade, beginning a strong bond that would continue through high school, never putting themselves before the team, working together year-round to practice their craft of basketball to become better parts for the whole.
It’s exciting to honor that team tonight … and to see them in the upcoming Heritage Days Parade, as they gather for a reunion. More come on that.