Following an historic 26-0 state championship team was a tough task to undertake, but the Newton Senior High School basketball team of 1963-64 made history of its own.
The 1963-64 boys from NHS didn’t go undefeated. They did produce back-to-back Iowa state basketball championships for the Cardinals.
Friday, Newton’s 1964 state championship basketball team is being honored on the 50th anniversary of its feat. NHS has invited all members of that team back for recognition at halftime of the Newton-Norwalk game.
The game begins at 7:30 p.m. A reception for the team is at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at NHS.
Six players returned to Newton from the 1962-63 team, which went undefeated and won the state championship. They were Sonny Johnson, Fred George, Dennis Williams, Larry Lust, Dave Lister and Dave Bennett, plus NHS head coach Lewis “Buzz” Levick was back.
They helped guide the 1963-64 squad back to the state tournament. Other members of the team that year were Dave Warrick, Gary Northrup, Jim Hale, Bob Loar, Steve Jones, Jim Smith, Randy Mills, Bob Mahon, Dave Nicol, and assistant coach John Cowley.
In the 1964 state tournament, the Cardinals defeated Atlantic, 58-43, in the quarterfinals then dispatched Wahlert Catholic-Dubuque 63-56 in the semifinals. The Cardinals were right back where they were a year before — the state championship game.
Newton claimed its second consecutive state basketball championship with a 44-39 victory over Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The 1964 state champions were 23-3.