Mavericks’ senior standout nets No. 2 all-time scoring mark in county

Mitch Pfingsten

The first high school basketball player in Minnesota history to score more than 2,000 points during his prep career was Ron Johnson of New Prague.

Johnson, a 6-foot-7 center who went on to play college basketball for the University of Minnesota and one season in the NBA, reached the milestone as a senior during the 1955-56 season.

One month before reaching the milestone, Johnson became the all-time leading scorer in Minnesota history when he eclipsed the record which had been held for two years by Roger Lueck of Welcome.

Johnson surpassed Lueck when he scored 60 points – a state single-game record – in New Prague’s 96-58 victory over Le Center on Feb. 11, 1956. That gave him 1,732 career points – one more than Lueck’s career total.

A month later, Johnson scored 42 points in New Prague’s 53-50 victory over Montgomery in the District 13 championship game to surpass the 2,000 mark. He closed out his high school career with a state tournament-record 48 points in New Prague’s 77-54 victory over Winona in the third place of the state tournament. Following that game, Minneapolis Roosevelt defeated Blue Earth in the championship game.

Johnson finished with 2,190 career points.

Lueck scored 1,731 points in 80 games – an average of 21.6 points per game – in his four seasons on the Welcome varsity. Lueck had become the state’s all-time leading scorer during the 1953-54 season.

On Feb. 19, 1954, Lueck scored 12 points as Welcome improved to 18-0 on the season with a 54-43 victory over Sherburn to tie the state’s career scoring record of 1,640 points, which was set by Jim Akason of Halstad in 1952. Akason had topped the total of 1,476 held by Hibbing’s Milan Knezovich.

On Feb. 26, 1954, Lueck took sole possession of the scoring record when he scored 25 points to help Welcome outlast Frost, 60-56. The next night, the Wildcats concluded their regular-season with a game against Melrose at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. The Welcome vs. Melrose contest was the preliminary game to the Big Ten game between the Gophers and Northwestern.

Melrose, which brought a 16-1 record and 10-game winning streak into the meeting with Welcome, handed Welcome its first loss of the season, 57-43. Lueck scored 13 points.

As one of the five teams seeded into the District 5 tournament, Welcome had to wait to see who its opponent would be in the district quarterfinals. On March 9, Welcome played Sherburn, which had defeated Fairmont and Truman in the sub-district, in the district quarterfinals.

Lueck scored 36 points to lead the Wildcats past Sherburn, 85-77. In the 1953 District 5 Tournament, Lueck scored a district tournament single-game record 41 points in Welcome’s 70-68 victory over Sherburn.

The Wildcats season came to end in the district semifinals with a 61-56 loss to Blue Earth at Wells. Lueck closed out his prep career with 17 points. Welcome finished the season with a 20-2 record.

Wells, which defeated Frost, 57-55, in the other semifinal, edged Blue Earth 47-45 for the district title.

Lueck was the leading career scorer among high school players from Martin and Faribault counties for more than four decades until Martin County West’s Tony Taylor finished his career in 1998 with 1,842 points.

Taylor held the top spot until Fairmont guard Mitch Pfingsten finished his prep career in 2014 with 2,113 points.

Top scorers (minimum 1,500 points):

1. Mitch Pfingsten, Fairmont 2,113

2. Zach Anderson, Martin Co. West 1,993

3. Tony Taylor, Martin Co. West 1,842

4. Roger Lueck, Welcome 1,731

5. Tim Garry, Granada-Huntley-East Chain 1,696

6. Wade Blazejak, Granada-Huntley-East Chain 1,680

7. Zach Krumwiede, Martin Co. West 1,677

8. Adam Heckman, Truman/Martin Luther/GHEC 1,630

9. Kyle Bauman, United South Central 1,610

10. Richard Saggau, Ceylon 1,600

11. Jeff McCarron, Sherburn 1,579

12. Mike Hintz, Truman 1,555

13. Jeff Janssen, Fairmont 1,512


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