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01/12/2014 - From The Press Box: Class A Single Game Scoring Record Still In Tact For Former Rocket Motz
 Fifty years is a milestone for anyone or anything.

Most notably, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, historic events that changed the world.

One event on a snowy January night in 1964 marked the last time anyone broke the Class A boys basketball single-game scoring record.

My father, Jerry Motz, made history that night.  It dawned on me Saturday during a regular roundtable of former Northeast athletes and graduates that it had been 50 years.

The Lincoln Northeast boys basketball team make the trek to South Sioux City on Jan. 11, 1964 during a snowstorm that even saw the team bus get stranded.

Despite the slow down from Mother Nature, the Rockets continued on and took on a Cardinal ball club looking to pull one out from the Lincoln boys.

But the night belonged to dad, pouring in a record 57 points and leading Northeast to a 90-75 win over South Sioux City.  Since that night, only three other players in Class A have come close to beating that record.  

Legendary Mike McGee during his senior season at Omaha North in 1977 came close to beating the record three different times.  He scored 54 points once and 51 in two other games.  McGee, of course, went on to star at Michigan and spent nine seasons in the NBA, playing on the 1982 and 1985 world title teams with the Lakers.

The year before, in 1976, Omaha Burke's Jim Gregory scored 51 in a game.

Andre Woolridge of Omaha Benson scored 50 points in the 1992 Class A championship to help the Bunnies beat Hastings 95-76, a game I remember seeing in person.

Most recently, Bellevue East's Jarell Crayton scored 51 points in an early season game back in 2008-09.

Dad had been the seasoned veteran of a Northeast team that was ranked after a losing season in 1963 and winning the state title in 1962.  

Dad missed his first four shots from the field against South Sioux City, but went on a shooting display that has hardly been matched by any player in Class A since.  He was 23-of-27, which is also a school record.  Remember, this was way before the three-point line was introduced in high school basketball.

Following a basketball and baseball career at Nebraska Wesleyan, plus over two decades of fast-pitch softball and 41-years in the insurance claims business, Dad finds himself still hanging around basketball.  He's an assistant coach for my brother, Jimmy, at Central City.  

You hear about the game Dad had that night in '64 at South Sioux City all your life from friends of his and others who were around at the time and followed high school basketball.  It's hard to believe that no one else in Class A, even with the three-point shot, hasn't had a breakout performance and eclipse the 57-point mark.  Records are meant to be broken at some point.

But the Class A record is mixed in with other record-setting performances from players in lower classes.  Ed Vondra of Brainard is the all-time single-game scoring leader with 102 points back in 1922.  Two others, including Larry Rathe of Class D Sterling and Tom Kropp from Class B Aurora, also hit 57 points in individual games.

Other record setters in 1964 alone included a 65-point game from Larry Wattjes of DeWitt, 61 points from Ron Regier of Henderson, 60 from Creighton St. Ludger's Dave Macken, 59 points each for Mike Cunningham of Waterloo and Kurt Lauer of Gibbon.

Today's generation has a few shooters, too.  

Wes Eikmeier at Fremont Bergan scored 59 points in a 2008 ball game and Jesse Carr at Ainsworth scored 68 in a 2005 contest, both are in the Class C-1 and C-2 ranks.

Dad remains humble about his days at Northeast, unless someone asks him about the night he hit 57 points or when the Rockets defeated Omaha Tech in 1962 for the Class A state championship, which had some controversy.  He was enshrined as a member of the 2nd induction class into the Lincoln Northeast Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992 and had nothing praise for his teammates and coach, the late Ed Johnson.

When it was brought up that the 50th anniversary of his on-court performance was this past Saturday, it didn't come with streamers and balloons.  

It was just humble, the way dad wants it to be.

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