Times Gone By

The 1927-28 Arlington boys basketball team went 20-1 during the regular season and reached the state semifinals. Team members were, fron row from left, Rodney Peterson, Harold Echtenkamp, Paul Hammang and Otis Decker. Back row: Hugh Rhea, coach V.A. Cline, Floyd Alexander, superintendent F.H. Brokaw and LaVerne Bevelhimer.

Editor's Note: “A Look at Times Gone By” is an in-depth look at weekly Times Gone By entries compiled since 2015. These articles represent the history of Washington County sports.

In 1969, a February edition of the Arlington Citizen showed its appreciation for basketball history.

In a feature titled “Our Town Then,” it detailed the early years of Arlington High School hoops, surprisingly omitting the 1925 boys squad that won the Class D state championship.

“In 1906, the superintendent at Arlington High School was not particularly interested in the new fangled college game of basketball,” the '69 article read. “It was considered primarily a game for girls, however he permitted both the boys and girls to organize.”

The first girls team was lead by Vera McVea and Leta Marshall, and played its first game in 1906. It lost to Blair 36-6, but “... the Blair girls were perfect ladies.”

The Arlington boys, meanwhile, got their start in 1907-08, playing one game. They won that contest, wearing “santeen shirts with the sleeves taken out and overalls cut off at the knees.”

From there, the article stated, the basketball program had its ups and downs with changes in leadership. Some superintendents appreciated basketball, while others preferred other activities.

Despite that, the Eagles won the 1925 title with state wins against Ainsworth (by a 17-12 score), Belden (12-5) and Omaha Benson (16-12). They also were state runner-up finishers in 1916, 1919, 1920 and 1922.

But the 1969 Citizen article focused on the 1927-28 team with a photo of the team printed alongside it. That year, Arlington won 20 of its 21 regular season games and reached the state semifinals before losing to Gothenburg.

The team leaders in those years were Hugh Rhea — a Nebraska football hall-of-famer — Floyd Alexander, Elmer Peters, Rodney Peterson and Paul Hammang.

At the end of the article, the writer teased more basketball history for possible future “Our Town Then” entries.

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