Little Ten Conference Boys Basketball Tournament History

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  While it wasn’t an easy road, the top seed Newark Norsemen capture the 1978 Little Ten Conference Tournament Championship. Newark and their head coach Chuck Nelson first defeated Somonauk 65-49 then bested No. 4 seed Leland in a 81-76 overtime thriller in the semifinals. They then meet rival and third seeded Serena in the title game. Norsemen Tracy Clausel had a tip in late in regulation to send the game into overtime and in the extra session sank a 8-footer with 11 seconds left to seal the victory and the championship.

The Huskers reached the final game with hard fought wins over Paw Paw (68-62) and Shabbona (62-59). Shabbona went on the capture the third place game, defeating Leland 62-54.


Panther head coach Roger Dorio’s club trailed 22-20 at halftime, but went on a 15-6 third quarter run to wrap up their seventh straight victory. Leland, who entered the tournament a perfect 5-0 in regular season conference play, was led by Cecil Miller’s 11 points. Dan Shumway netted 10 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Marty Brown had a team-high seven boards.


The game was tied at 44-all entering the four quarter. Serena senior Mike Warren scored nine of his 20 points in the final period to help the Huskers to the win. Warren also added 11 rebounds in the game as Serena advanced to the semifinals. Brian Bardson chipped in with 13 points for Al Stegman’s Huskers, who nailed 20-of-22 free throws. Paw Paw was led by DeWayne Smith’s 20 points.


The Norsemen led just 27-23 at halftime over the eight-seeded Bobcats, who had defeated No. 9 seed Waterman in the tournament’s opening game. A 22-6 third quarter advantage by Newark put the game out of reach for the upset minded Bobcats. Three-year senior starter Tracy Clausel had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Norsemen, while Warren Peterson and Mark Chelsen added nice games with 13 and 12 points respectively. Somonauk was led by 12 points from Eric Voss and 10 points, 10 rebounds from Brad Land.


Shabbona ran off to a 13-3 first quarter lead and never looked back. Cass Larson led the Indians with 17 points, sophomore Larry Hickey added 13 and John Herrick 12. Malta was paced by Jim Cardine’s nine points.



Top seed Newark led at halftime 38-19 and had a 23-point lead during the first half. Leland, the fourth seed, was able to slice the disadvantage to 13 entering the fourth period and completed a miraculous comeback when Dirk Gunderson hit a pair of free throws with eight seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 71-all. Cecil Miller had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation for the Panthers, but his 22-footer at the buzzer came up short. In overtime, after a Leland foul, the Panther bench received a technical foul. Newark’s Brad Mathre hit two of three on the 1-and-1 and technical free throws to give Newark a 75-73 lead. Warren Peterson extended the lead with a baseline jumper with 1:21 left in overtime to make it 78-73. Miller scored a hoop for Leland, but Newark quickly answered with a clutch hook shot by Mathre with 40 seconds left and Peterson sealed the win with two free throws with six seconds left.

Rich Mau topped Newark with 21 points, Mathre 16, Peterson 15. Leland was led by Dan Shumway’s 21 points, Miller chipped in 20.


Serena’s Mike Warren sprained an ankle in practice a day after the Huskers opening round win over Paw Paw and wasn't at 100-percent and doubtful to play. The senior did play and managed to overcome the pain to score a game-high 23 points (seven in the 4th quarter) and pull down 13 rebounds as the Huskers advanced to the title game with a come for behind 62-59 win. Shabbona led 42-38 entering the final period and 50-44 with 5:30 to play before Serena went to a full-court press. The Huskers forced three consecutive Indian turnovers, the last turning into a Giles Eddy basket to give the Huskers the lead for good at 51-50 with 3:56 to play.

“We went to the press with about five minutes to play,” Husker head coach Al Stegman told the Ottawa Times after the game. “We got a couple of baskets off it and once we got over the hump, everything was all right.”

Brian Bardson had 10 points for Stegman’s Huskers, who used three different players to shut down Shabbona star Cass Larson (five points). Ray Richardson led the Indians with 16 points.



The Indians led 40-39 to begin the fourth quarter and then out-scored the Panthers 22-15 to take third place honors. Leland, who turned the ball over 24 times in the contest, was led by Cecil Miller’s 14 points, Roger Merkel added 13. John Herrick paced Shabbona with 15 points, Phil Foster chipped in with 11 points off the bench.



It was the third meeting of the season for the two long time rivals. The Huskers had defeated Newark 71-69 on their home floor, while Newark beat Serena 58-57 in the consolation championship game of the Plano Christmas Tournament.

After sinking the game tying shot to send the game into overtime, senior Tracy Clausel suffered an ankle injury with 1:40 left I the extra period. The 6-foot-5 Clausel reentered the game with 27 seconds remaining, just in time to seal the victory with a 8-foot jumper with 11 seconds left.

“When I twisted my ankle, I motioned to Coach (Chuck) Nelson that I wouldn’t be able to guard (Mike) Warren (Serena’s top player),” explained Clausel to the Ottawa Times. “Coach thought I wanted to come out. I just wanted to switch players. It was to important to be out because of my ankle.”

Inside 15 seconds to play in overtime, Newark’s Warren Peterson drove to the hoop, but was trapped and passed to Clausel for the game winning bank shot.

That was the best we’ve played all year,” Nelson told the Ottawa Times following the game. “It took a lot of guts for Clausel and Rich Mau (who also sprained an ankle in the overtime)to stay in there.”

After tying the game late in regulation, Newark actually had a chance to end the game after the final horn had sounded. Clausel’s 20-footer with two seconds remaining missed and Mau was fouled at the buzzer, however he missed the front end of the 1-and-1, leaving the game tied. Serena had two chances to knot the score after Clausel’s late overtime bucket, but each long shot hit the rim and bounced away.

“The thing of it is with Newark, you’ve got to put pressure on the ball, front the ball and watch the weak side,” said Serena head coach Al Stegman to the Ottawa Times. “We were getting two of those things done, but sometimes the third one wasn’t there.”

Warren Peterson led Newark with 22 points, most of his baskets coming from long range, keeping Serena‘s man-to-man defense off guard. The 6-foot-5 Mau added 14 and the hero Clausel 11. Serena was paced by Mike Warren’s 24 points on 12-of-17 shooting, Tom Hoxsey added 10 points for the Huskers who only had one free throw attempt in the game.


               FGA FG PCT. FTA FT  PF PTS

Warren          17 12 70.9   0  0   1  24

Hitchins         8  4 50.0   0  0   1   8

Eddy            16  3 18.8   0  0   2   6

Hoxsey          10  5 50.0   1  0   5  10

Erickson         4  2 50.0   0  0   4   4

Bardson          2  1 50.0   0  0   3   2

Nitiss           2  1 50.0   0  0   0   2

                -- -- ----  -- --  --  --

Totals          49 28 57.1   1  0  16  56


               FGA FG PCT. FTA FT  PF PTS

Clausel          9  5 55.5   1  1   1  11

Mau             11  7 63.6   1  0   3  14

Chelsen          7  3 43.0   0  0   1   6

Mathre           5  2 40.0   2  1   2   5

Peterson        16  9 56.3   7  4   0  22

P.Anderson       0  0 00.0   0  0   0   0

Monkemeyer       0  0 00.0   0  0   0   0

                -- -- ----  -- --  --  --

Totals          48 26 54.2  11  6   7  58

Score by quarters

Serena                 14 12 16 10 4 - 56

Newark                 13 11 16 12 6 - 58


Leland gained some revenge by defeating Newark 60-58 on the final Friday of conference play. The Panthers entered the game 7-0, while the Norsemen were 6-1 and looking to gain a share of the title. Leland had lost 18 consecutive games to the Norsemen before the two-point win.

Cecil Miller led Leland with 20 points, Dan Shumway suffered a knee injury in the fourth period and finished with 12. The Panthers led 30-24 at halftime and 43-40 heading to quarter number four. The Panthers led 60-45 with 2:45 left, however Newark went on a 13-0 run to close the gap, but time ran out before they could tie or move ahead.

Warren Peterson was tops for Newark with 19 points, while Tracy Clausel scored 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds.

Leland finished the regular season with a 18-6 overall record - Newark was 19-6.

Leland went on to capture the IHSA Class A LaMoille Regional with victories over Earlville (62-59), Paw Paw (62-40), and finally tournament host (60-49). The Panthers season came to a close with a 56-33 loss to Timothy Christian at the Somonauk Sectional to finish their season with a impressive 21-7 record.



               W  L

Leland         8  0

Newark         6  2

Serena         5  3

Shabbona       5  3

Hinckley-B.R.  4  4

Malta          3  5

Paw Paw        3  5

Somonauk       1  7

Waterman       1  7

1978 Little Ten All-Conference Team


Jose Alaniz, Hinckley-Big Rock, Senior

Cecil Miller, Leland, Senior

Dan Shumway, Leland, Senior

*Tracy Clausel, Newark, Senior

Rich Mau, Newark, Senior

Dwayne Smith, Paw Paw Senior

*Mike Warren, Serena, Senior

Cass Larson, Shabbona, Senior

Greg McRill, Somonauk, Junior

Howard Hill, Waterman, Senior


Honorable Mention


Marty Brown, Leland, Senior

Ron Peterson, Malta, Junior

Steve Sandburg, Malta, Senior

Brad Mathre, Newark, Senior

Warren Peterson, Newark, Senior

Larry Hickey, Shabbona, Sophomore


Special Mention


Ron Gord, Leland, Senior

Curt Samo, Malta, Junior

John Herrick, Shabbona, Junior


*- Repeat All-Conference