(Editor’s note: The following story appeared in the March 8, 2013 edition of the Banner prior to the passing of Burros Hall of Fame coach Ed Beyer on Jan. 10, 2016.)
The fourth time proved to be the charm for Ed Beyer’s Burros.
In his first 11 years as head coach, Beyer advanced to the state boys basketball tournament three times – in 1962, 1968 and 1971. However, it wasn’t until 1973 that Beyer brought a state title trophy home to Hillsboro.
Beyer admits that year’s squad and a 26-0 team in 1981 were the most talented teams he coached in his 37-year Hall of Fame career, one that included 688 wins and four state titles.
But faced with a No. 1-ranked and undefeated Parshall, N.D., squad, led by a future NFL quarterback, Beyer figured his chances of winning his first state championship on March 17, 1973 were slim.
“In my heart I didn’t think we would win,” Beyer said in a sit-down interview Monday. “I went into that game thinking we had a pretty good year, but I really didn’t think we could beat them.”
Beyer’s boys proved him wrong.
Sparked by the trio of 6-5 junior Keith Meyer and seniors Kent Bruun and Roger Bohnsack, Hillsboro’s front court hit 81 percent of its shots, connecting on 29 of 36 field goals, to push the Burros past the Braves 74-53.
Reflecting on the upcoming 40-year anniversary of the win, Beyer believes it was the best single performance he’s ever seen from any of his Burro big men.
“We played as good a front-line game that I’ve ever coached,” he said. “Everything went right for us that game. It would be nearly impossible to duplicate that.”
The Parshall victory was a defining game for the 25-2 squad in 1973, the crowning moment in a stellar season.
Even though District 6 rival Mayville-Portland won the state title in 1972 and returned seven seniors, Beyer said Hillsboro started practice in fall 1972 with a single focus.
“From day one, our goal was to win state,” he said. “We only lost to May-Port by three or four in 1972 in districts, and I remember watching the state tournament on TV thinking we may have had the second-best