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UPDATE: August 7, 2018
STATE CHAMPIONS 5A: Topeka High 4A: McPherson 3A: Parsons 2A: Frankfort 1A: Garden Plain
This year marked the end of Coach Ken Bueltel's career as basketball coach at Hayden High School. Most of the players from the previous year's squad were lost to graduation. The top returning seniors were Rick Flynn and Tegan Swoboda. Coach Bueltel decided on executing a deliberate style of play early on in this season due to the talent level and inexperience of the players.
A famous example of the delay game used by Hayden was the 2/9/73 game at Highland Park. The score at half time was Highland Park 4, Hayden 2. Coach Springs of Highland Park had prepared his team for this style and they used a deliberate game themselves for an easy win. Washburn Rural had a bad shooting night and Hayden's control style won a victory in the next game. All season long Sophomores Kevin Lutz and Dan Chavez continued to improve and Swoboda and Steve Schmidt were getting better at rebounding and put backs. Rick Flynn was the key player on the team and played through several injuries late in the year. Still, Hayden went into their last home game as huge underdogs. Leavenworth was tied with Highland Park for the Centennial League lead. Warren Dennis was one of the best inside players in the state and future Kansas Jayhawk guard Clint Johnson was in the same league as Dennis. Coach Zacker of Leavenworth prepared his team not to overlook Hayden playing at home for the last time under Coach Bueltel. It didn't make any difference - Hayden scored a 54-51 monumental upset over the #2 ranked team in Class 4A.
KEN BUELTEL DAY : February 23, 1973
The Topeka Daily Capital and State Journal of 2/23/73 and 2/24/73 has excellent reporting by Ken Leiker, Mike Hall and Pete Goering about the Hayden-Leavenworth game and the great tribute delivered to Coach Bueltel by the students of Hayden. The route from Bueltel's house to Hayden was lined with students holding signs thanking Coach for his 21 years of service. There was a ceremony at halftime involving former players that left Coach nearly speechless. He likened it to an Academy Awards ceremony where the emotion of the moment prevailed over prepared speeches.
Ken Zacher , of Leavenworth, had plenty to say about the game. "That may have been the most emotional high school basketball game ever played in the state of Kansas. I've seen a lot of basketball, but I've never seen anything like that before." The game was probably won in the first half as Hayden reacted to the tight defense played by Leavenworth by not employing a delay and instead went one-on-one against the Pioneers. Crowd noise was definitely a factor in Leavenworth's offensive struggles. Yours truly was near the front row and I know that was the loudest I have ever yelled in my life. This was the type of yelling that pushed all the air out of your body and left you dizzy. Now, for one game at least, nearly all the fans were letting it all hang out in the same manner. As it became obvious that the noise was having an effect, the noise just seemed to stay at a steady deafening roar even during the timeouts. I can still remember the bewildered looks of Leavenworth players that had to dribble or pass the ball near the Hayden bench.
Ken Zacker: "It was so loud when we called a timeout...We couldn't even communicate with our players." At half time Hayden was ahead 37-22. Leavenworth used defensive pressure to stage a great comeback that fell short when a long shot failed with about 30 seconds left in the game. Afterwards Coach Zacker went to the Hayden dressing room to congratulate the Hayden players. He later told reporters that this was the most disappointing loss of his career because he knew his team had superior talent. Also, the loss denied them a share of the league championship. "You'll never make me believe this really happened."
Coach Bueltel claimed he really didn't do any coaching. "They (the players) did it by themselves - I just sat there on the bench. I probably could have fought Joe Frazier tonight and won...that crowd would have jumped in the ring with me." The "Ken Bueltel Day" magic carried over for an upset win over Topeka West in the final regular season game. Highland Park ended the Bueltel era on their way to the 4A State Tournament.
Sources: TDC on all, TSJ & TDC on Ken Bueltel Day
|Centennial League||6||4||Coach: Ken Bueltel|
|12/2/72||Salina South||L||28||38||Salina South|
|12/9/72||Topeka West||L||30||37||Bueltel A.C.|
|12/15/72||Highland Park||L||30||34||Centennial||Bueltel A.C.|
|1/5/73||Washburn Rural||L||24||29||Centennial||Washburn Rural|
|1/13/73||Shawnee Heights||W||46||39||Beultel A.C.|
|1/24/73||Junction City||L||27||30||Topeka Invitational||Topeka High|
|1/26/73||Topeka West||L||39||47||Topeka Invitational||Topeka West|
|1/27/73||Salina South||W||56||39||Topeka Invitational||Topeka High|
|2/9/73||Highland Park||L||18||27||Centennial||Highland Park|
|2/16/73||Washburn Rural||W||32||31||Centennial||Bueltel A.C.|
|2/17/73||Topeka High||L||54||77||Topeka High|
|2/24/73||Topeka West||W||41||39||Topeka West|
|3/8/73||Highland Park||L||39||63||CLASS 4A SUB-STATE||Highland Park|