Great feats are consistently celebrated throughout a number of different platforms. Whether it’s to recognize an individual or a team people and organizations gather together and take a moment to remember the accomplishments of a few.
On Friday night, Jan. 5, the crowd and players at the Perry basketball games donned their tribute caps and celebratory smiles to honor the school’s last basketball state champions.
Thirty years ago the 1988 Bluejays captured the Class 2A State Boys Basketball title after defeating the Council Bluffs St. Albert’s Falcons 76-60.
This squad, led by All-Tournament Captain Brad Stracke, made it their mission to win that elusive state title after getting bounced out of the tournament the year before.
“If you think about what the team did in 1987 and 1988, it was a century team meaning this has only happened once in a 100-plus years in Perry,” Stracke said. “We had a unique team that we really didn’t care who scored points or received the recognition. The end result is the only thing we cared about. We had team chemistry that you seldom find in sports. I wouldn’t say we were the most talented but we knew how to win.”
Stracke couldn’t attend Friday night’s ceremony but always holds the team close to his chest and acknowledged all the invaluable work his former coach, the late Tom Schleicher, did for the squad.
“Coach did a great job of molding us into a championship team. We all appreciate what he did for all us,” he said.
Some former players like Frank Howell took some time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance and share some fond memories with his former teammates.
“It’s great that many people in Perry still have memories of our title run, and it was amazing to exchange stories with my teammates and everyone else that supported us and had a role in what we were able to accomplish,” he said. “The most important thing about our recent reunion was to honor our coach, Tom Schleicher, and to bring awareness and raise money for Alzheimer’s research.”
Howell, who is in his second year as the Graceland University’s girls head basketball coach,couldn’t say enough about the impact his former coach had on so many players and individuals and was proud to be a part of how the school celebrated the team and honored his former coach with the event that was dubbed “Alzheimer’s Night.”
“Coach Schleicher gave so much to Perry in so many ways. It was a powerful moment to see people come together to honor his legacy,” Howell said.
Complete list of the members of the 1988 basketball team, which included players, coaches, statisticians, managers, and cheerleaders.
Head Coach Tom Schleicher
Assistant Coach Mike Jorgensen
Dr. Eugene Brady, High School Principal.
Tom Lipovac, Athletic Director