The rousing 6-0 start by this year's Brainerd Warriors boys' basketball team required a dig into tattered manilla folders containing yellowing statistical data.
The 1965-66 season was the last time a Brainerd boys' team opened with six straight victories. Whether that remains an encouraging omen for the current Warrior crew remains to be seen.
Brainerd went on to win its first 10 games that season before it was mashed by the Moorhead Spuds 75-34. The Warriors won their final seven regular-season games for a 17-1 mark.
In the semifinals of the old District 24 tournament, Brainerd was stunned 50-49 by Wadena. The Warriors went on to finish 19-2 and third in the district.
That team started center John Longfellow who averaged 16.1 points in the regular season. Forwards Steve Lepinski and Tod Paulson averaged 13.3 and 9.7, guards Chuck Morgan and Don Bollum averaged 9.6 and 4.6.
Other players were Howard Pavlacky, Jon Anderson (who two years later set the single-season school scoring record with 554 points), Tom Cummins, Bruce McComas, Joe Marcum, Mike Marolt, Steve Sievek, Tom Molin, Jerome Rademacher and Johnny Holm (now the lead singer in a successful band).
This Warrior team does not have the size (no starter taller than 6-3) the 1965-66 team did. It does play chest-to-chest defense and plays together like the Warriors did in the program's heyday. That's a credit to second-year head coach Matt Urbanek and his staff of Scott Stanfield, Wade Haapajoki and Chris Halverson.
Brainerd (6-2) is at Duluth East tonight, at Grand Rapids Saturday night and at Rocori Tuesday.
A roundup of other Warrior activities this weekend:
Boys hockey -- The Warriors (4-2-1) are at Forest Lake tonight for a rematch of last year's section quarterfinal, which Brainerd lost 2-1 in double-overtime. Brainerd hosts Bemidji Saturday night and is at Alexandria Tuesday.
Girls hockey -- Detroit Lakes is at Brainerd tonight, the Warriors are at St. Cloud Apollo Saturday night and host Alexandria Tuesday. Last week, Brainerd (9-3-1) won the championship of the yellow division in the Holiday Cup at the Schwan's SuperRink in Blaine. Erin Holznagel leads Brainerd with 11 goals and 18 points. Goalie Mandy Hanson has a 1.57 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
Girls basketball -- The Warriors (5-5) host Duluth East tonight. The Greyhounds are 10-2 after finishing fifth in the Hill-Murray tournament. On Friday, Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Tech (9-2) which won last week's Monticello tournament. The Tigers are coached by former Staples star Jessica Beachy Rahmann and feature 6-3 twin sisters Jessy and Katy Preston, who have signed with the University of San Francisco. Megan Arns averages 13.5 points and Julie Arns 10.5 for Brainerd.
Gymnastics -- Brainerd (4-0) is at Alexandria (3-2) tonight. The Warriors are ranked fourth in Class 2A.
Alpine skiing -- The Warriors are scheduled to compete in the Cloquet Invitational at Mt. Du Lac, Wis., today. It will be only the second meet of the season for Brainerd.
Wrestling -- The Warriors (3-3) end an 18-day break when they travel to the Cambridge-Isanti Invitational Saturday. Brainerd is at Aitkin Tuesday.
Nordic skiing -- Weather permitting, the Warriors will compete in the Mesabi East Invitational at Giants Ridge Saturday in only their second meet of the season.
Adapted floor hockey -- Brainerd opens its season Tuesday at Minneapolis South.
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