1988 Braddock Bobcats mark 25th Anniversary of State Class B Girls’ Basketball Championship
The 1988 State Class B Girls’ Basketball Champion Braddock Bobcats were recognized during halftime of the State Class B Tournament Championship game at the Fargodome on March 23. A reception for the team was held at the Ramada Plaza & Suites in Fargo following the State Tournament.
Among the attendees were Head Coach Del Svalen of Braddock, and assistant coach Todd Richter of Casselton. Eleven of 12 players on the 1988 squad were also in attendance, and special recognition went to Duane Leier (book) of Braddock, and Myron Rahrich (video) of Fargo.
The 1988 Braddock Bobcats entered the season with high hopes, despite the loss of some key players from a team that finished as the State runner-up in 1987. The Bobcats had an exciting run during the 1987 State Tournament, before falling to Esmond-Maddock (53-61) in the title game.
Braddock, however, returned All-Stater Nadine Schmidt, and Schmidt would cap her amazing high school career with arguably the best individual effort in the history of the State Class B Tournament. Other members of the team were Clarice Bohlin, Sonia Bitz, Kerry Eberhart, Kim Hager, Sharma Hager, Sara Leier, Shelly Moch, Serena Mock, Amy Saville, Tracy Saville, and Shauna Wolbaum.
In 1988, the Bobcats lost their second game of the season (38-45 to Washburn), but they went on to win their final 25 games to finish the season at 26-1. Braddock ran the rest of its regularseason schedule and entered the District 20 Tournament with an 18-1 record. There, Braddock defeated Zeeland, 48-44, and then Schmidt netted 33 points to lead the Bobcats to a 57-50 victory over Napoleon for their fifth straight District 20 crown.
Braddock opened the Region V Tournament in Napoleon with a 59-45 victory over Kulm, and the Bobcats followed that with a 61-36 victory over Gackle. Braddock then captured its third straight Region V crown with a 56-37 victory over Dickey Central (Monango) in the championship game.
The 1988 State Class B Tournament was held at the Minot State University Dome, and Braddock opened the tournament with a 63-32 victory over Mohall. In the semi-finals, Braddock would meet up with Watford City, which had upset top-ranked Beach in the quarterfinal round. Braddock squandered a 15-point lead, but paced by Schmidt’s game-high 34 points, the Bobcats held on for a 54-50 victory to reach the State Championship game for the second straight season.
This time, the opponent was Marion-Montpelier, which entered the game with a 26-0 record. Braddock jumped out to a 10-1 lead, but Marion-Montpelier closed the gap to a point (27-26) by halftime, and opened up a 47-39 advantage heading into the final period. The Wildcats increased the margin to 11 points early in the fourth period, and held a 59-54 advantage with under a minute left, before Braddock scored the final six points to complete a 10-1 run. Schmidt’s jumper with :03 left gave Braddock a 60- 59 victory for the school’s first State championship in any sport. Schmidt finished with a game-high and State Championship Game record 41 points, while Shelly Moch added 8 points, Clarice Bohlin netted 7, and Serena Mock and Kerry Eberhart chipped in 2 points apiece for the Bobcats.
Schmidt, who went on to star at North Dakota State University and played on two National Championship (1991 and 1993) teams for the Lady Bison, set five State Class B Tournament records that still stand today. They include most points (41) and field goals (20) in a championship game, most points (34) in a semi-final game, and most points (105) and field goals (50) in a tournament. Schmidt was named 1988 North Dakota Miss Basketball, and finished her career 3rd on the all-time scoring list with 2,457 points (Schmidt is currently 8th on that list).
Braddock would go back to the State Class B Tournament for the fourth straight year in 1989, placing 8th, but 18 months later (May 1991), Braddock Public School would close its doors, and would consolidate with Hazelton Public School to create Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock School.
H-M-B would make its only appearance at state in 2008, placing 4th, and H-M-B has since formed a cooperative with Linton. Linton-HMB advanced to the state tournament in 2011 (3rd) and 2012 (2nd). In all, the teams in the current coop have won 15 region titles in the past 32 seasons. They include Linton (7), Braddock (5), Linton-HMB (2) and H-M-B (1).
Braddock had a rich history in Girls’ Basketball, since the sport was reinstated by the NDSHAA in the fall of 1974. In 17 seasons (1974- 90), Braddock played in 10 District 20 Championship games, winning 7 titles. The Lady Bobcats captured backto back District 20 crowns in 1980 and 1981, and won five straight district titles from 1984-88. Braddock reached the Region V Tournament Championship game six times (all between 1981-89), winning the Region V crown five times (1981, 1986-89), and the Bobcats reached the State Tournament title game twice, placing second in 1987, before winning the State title in 1988.
Graduation composites (1921-91) and sports trophies (1933-91) from Braddock High School are on display at the Braddock Community Hall. A lot of those accomplishments may have been forgotten by people around the state, and even surrounding communities, but for the current and former residents of Braddock, and especially those who donned the Bobcat uniform, those memories will last a lifetime.