Sunday, January 17, 2016

32 Years Ago: The DHS Team That Was One Shot From State


Some in our area have made quite a fuss over the future of DHS basketball, wondering if Dorchester's teams can ever "turn it around." 

They forget that fortunes in sports, like life in general, can turn on a dime.  Point and case: the DHS boys team of 32 years ago -- the team that wouldn't quit.

The 1983-84 DHS boys basketball squad will forever be known as the Longhorn team that was a shot away from the Class C-2 State Tournament -- just one second away from a chance to play in the Devaney.  

Moreover, the team's success launched the start of a six-year run in which Dorchester became known for its prowess in boys basketball, appearing regularly in the top-ten rankings for Class C-2.

But go back to the beginning of that season thirty years ago, and the Longhorns didn't start off looking like state-worthy material.  

Dorchester lost their season opener by 55 points to a feisty C-1 team in Henderson that put 98 points on the board.  In fact, the Longhorns won only two of its first seven contests. The situation was dour for the struggling program.

But then DHS, coached by Larry Gish and Scott Pohl, found some magic.  The team would go on to win 10 of its next 13 games, capturing the district title by knocking off Palmyra and emerging power Lincoln Christian.  

The Longhorns were led by junior Lyle Weber, who would receive all-state accolades for his efforts, along with seniors Dean Slepicka, Bob Wolesensky, Eddie Moore, Brad Hohensee, and junior Neal Pavlish -- a fan favorite.

The 1984 Class C-2 regional game pitted DHS against a top-notch Humboldt team.  The winner would go onto state.  

A last-second desperation shot by a Humboldt player, who unloaded from half court, dealt the Longhorns a season-ending defeat that would be talked about for years to come.  

Little did Longhorn fans know then, however, that just one season later the DHS boys would make it to the Class C-2 State Tournament.

And little did the DHS players of that 1983-84 season know then that three decades later folks would still be talking about their efforts -- and about the Longhorn team that wouldn't quit.

4 comments:

  1. Great article. I love hearing old war stories of past DHS teams. Keep these up

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  2. What was pretty amazing about the 80s and very early 90s is how competitive Dorchester was despite being one of the very smallest class c2 schools in the entire state. Friend, exeter and others were playing class d ball most of those years while Dorchester strived to play tougher competition as long as it possibly could.

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  3. Suddenly I hear songs from the Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink and Weird Science playing in my head.....

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  4. I have many fond memories of Dorchester athletes and coaches during my employment with Dorchester Public Schools. One of the things that I remember about many of the athletes I had the pleasure of working with, was their competitive spirit. Many of them had a competitive fire that burned bright and they were willing to push themselves to improve by putting in extra practice time, going to camps, developing team chemistry, and simply refusing to let others get the best of them. Community, school, and team pride drove many of these athletes to maximize their talents and give their best effort. They didn't win every game, but they weren't going down without a fight. I will also remember that when the Dorchester teams won, they did so with class and acted liked they had done it before. They respected the opposition and then looked forward to the next challenge. When they lost, they were willing to work on the aspects of the game that needed improving and move forward. I certainly was fortunate to work with many fine athletes over the years and will always cherish the memories I have of each and every one no matter the final outcome of the game.

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