It was a basketball season for the ages at Grand Rapids Lincoln High School. After a 14-1 season, the team stormed into the 14th annual Wisconsin state basketball tournament held March 20-22, 1918 at Lawrence College in Appleton. By defeating Columbus (32-25), Marinette (34-25) and Wausau (27-15), Grand Rapids secured its first Wisconsin state championship. Three Rapids players made the All-State team.
In the team photo, back row:
- William Smith (1900-1991)
- Arthur H. Plahmer (1899-1984)
- Coach Elmer J. Abrahamson (1891-1978)
- Roy T. “Cap” Normington (1899-1960)
- Raymond A. “Jock” Johnston (1900-1977)
In the front row:
- Arthur “Worry” Kluge (1898-1974)
- Stanley S. “Pudge” Stark (1900-1979)
- Walter F. “Kaiser” Fritz (1898-1964)
Stark was the team captain and scoring champion with 205 points. He was named a forward on the All-State team. The other All-State honorees were Plahmer (center) and Smith (guard). The only defeat of the season came at the hands of Nekoosa during sectionals play. The season high score was achieved January 18, 1918 with a 64-12 drubbing of Wautoma. A week later, that same Wautoma team nearly knocked off Rapids before falling 18-16.
The irony of the 1917-1918 season is that the school year started with no basketball coach on the payroll at Lincoln High School. In short order, the services of Elmer J. Abrahamson were secured for the season. A 1915 graduate of Lawrence College, Abrahamson was a star college athlete in basketball, track and the pentathlon. Abrahamson only stayed for the championship season. He went on to a long teaching career in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He died in 1978.
©2015 The Hanneman Archive