The Athletic Hall of Fame inductees for 2020 will take place on Friday, Feb. 21, during halftime of the S-D-A boys basket- ball game against Milford, and will celebrate the 1959-1960 Back to Back State Championships.
During the 1950s and 1960s Syracuse High School celebrated a great deal of success in athletics, especially in basketball. The teams of 1959 and 1960 reached the pinnacle of high school sports by winning back-to-back state championships in Class B. During the 1959 season the team finished with a 23-1 record, while also winning the conference and district tournaments.
In the finals of the district tournament the team defeated Hebron 62-53 to punch its ticket to state. At the state tournament in Lincoln the Rockets opened up with a 47-37 win versus Wayne. In the title game the Rockets slipped by defending champion Minden 46-38.
Players receiving post season honors were: Gene Nannen – All Tourney Class B, All-State Class B, All Conference, Rich Kehlenbeck – All Tourney Class B, All State Honor- able Mention, All Conference, Harry Stubbendeck – All State Honorable Mention, All Conference.
The following season the team continued its success. At one point in the season,
their win streak dating back to the previous year, grew to 31 consecutive games before a loss to Om- aha Cathedral 71-62. The only other loss in 1960 was a 62-60 setback to a talented Ralston squad.
A repeat conference championship was also achieved during the sea- son. Heading into districts the Rockets beat Pius X and Auburn to earn a re- turn trip to the state tour- nament.
At state the Rockets beat Wayne 75-64 in the first round, followed by a 62-53 win against Hol- drege to ensure another championship game ap- pearance. In the finals, Syracuse was victorious over Omaha Holy Name 55-53 to achieve the rare back to back champi- onships and finishing the season 21-2.
Players receiving post season honors were: Neil Nannen - All Tourney, All State, All State Class B, All Conference S.E. 6, All Conference S.E. Border, Bill Witty - All State Hon- orable Mention, All Conference S.E. 6, All Conference S.E. Border, Bruce Brandt - All Conference S.E. 6, All Conference S.E. Border, Don Thomson - All Conference S.E. 6.
These teams have etched their place in the history of S-D-A lore and are hon- ored for their impressive accomplishments.
The S-D-A Rockets will face Milford on Friday, February 21, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Syracuse Middle School.