1962 SAGINAW HIGH STATE CHAMPIONSHIP BASKETBALL TEAM
Saginaw High School’s 1961-62 varsity basketball team has been called by many as the finest cage team to emerge from Saginaw County. Coach Larry Laeding’s squad finished the regular season with a perfect 15-0 record to win the Saginaw Valley League. The Trojans stormed through the tournament by beating Alpena 77-65 in the district opener in a battle of the state’s only unbeaten teams in Class A. SHS then beat Mount Pleasant in the district championship game, 63-35. Saginaw High defeated Arthur Hill (56-44) and Flint Central (65-44) in regional play before nipping Muskegon in the quarterfinal, 65-63, in front of 4,500 fans at the Lansing Civic Center. Saginaw then knocked off Detroit Pershing 69-59 in the semifinal and then stormed past Benton Harbor 69-58 to win the Class A state championship and finish with a spotless 22-0 record. The game was played in front of 12,360 fans at East Lansing’s Jenison Fieldhouse. The Trojans received a then-record 42 points by Ernie Thompson as the senior center made 15 of 27 shots from the field while adding 12 of 18 from the line. His 42 points eclipsed the Class A tournament record of 32 held by Larry Bicy of Jackson in 1955 and later tied by Dave DeBusschere of Detroit Austin in 1958. Thompson, who made the all-tournament team, averaged 33.7 points for the tournament. The 1961-62 Trojan squad consisted of Ernie Thompson, Brian Best, Bruce LaBreche, Lovell Humes, Bob Speer, Tom Humes, Clarence Jackson, Woody Kellum, Frank Scott, Jon Beck, Gary Scharich, Forest Benaway, Ron Wager, John Andros and Richard Williams. Ken Gray was the assistant coach.