Players from ‘special’ Central City 1947 state team celebrate 2023 Bison

Local4 News at 10
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 10:50 PM CST
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CENTRAL CITY, Neb. (KSNB) - Seventy-six years have separated state tournament qualification for Central City boys basketball. This year’s Bison team is the first since 1947 to achieve the feat.

Only two players from the 1947 squad are alive to celebrate the achievment, Dale Hedges and Dale Campbell. Both were in attendance at the Bison Activities Dome Monday for a pep rally to celebrate the 2023 team.

“It’s kind of a blessing that these guys are still around and they get to witness this,” Central City boys basketball coach BJ Blase said. “Special day for Central City basketball.”

Reflecting on the 1947 state tournament brought back plenty of memories for both Hedges, fondly nicknamed “Sure Shot,” and Campbell, who was called “Tuffie” in his prime.

“We were just a bunch of country boys that went to Lincoln and played basketball,” Hedges said. “We had a good team. We moved the ball well, just played team basketball. It was pretty exciting. We weren’t expected to go at all.”

“We were a pretty close group and we enjoyed each other and the coach,” Campbell added. “It was a good time to be there.”

The reality of how momentous this season has been for the Bison started to set in after the team beat Wayne in the district championship. Once practices resumed later than they have in three quarters of a century, Blase said they relished the feeling of achieving one of their primary goals.

“Those two guys were the only people that have ever practiced in March in Central City’s history,” he said. “And then, obviously, we we’re practicing in March, too. It’s kind of like all the stars aligned for that, for this year to happen.”

The Bison drew the No. 7 seed in the Class C1 state tournament. Their journey begins Wednesday at 1:30 against undefeated and No. 2 Ogallala. The players from the 1947 team shared their message and words of wisdom.

“Be in good condition and play hard.,” Campbell said.

“Be as a team together,” Hedges added. “Have fun, play with each other. Things will always turn out good when you do that. Maybe they’ll win it all. I hope they do. If they do, can’t congratulate them enough. If they lose, I can’t be prouder of them.”