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No luck in breaking 54-year spell

By Staff | Mar 29, 2010

Above, Bruce Cherland (left to right) holds the “good luck” warmup ball that he, Bill Murphy, Terry Armon, Jim Schneider and other members of the 1956 Blue Earth basketball team used that year on their way to the State championship game against Minneapolis Roosevelt.

The Bucs Jared Smith hits a three-pointer and cuts Jordan’s lead to 47-44 with 3:24 to play in the Section 2A championship game Friday night at Minnesota State University campus in Mankato.

His team is making a comeback, they are on a run and have momentum.

The Hubmen call a timeout.

In Section 105 at the Taylor Center, Terry Armon of Blue Earth reaches down in front of his seat and pulls out a round object resembling an oversized soccer ball.

He pats it a couple of times, as do Jim Schneider, Bruce Cherland and Bill Murphy.

Fifty-four years is a long time.

So, four members of the last Blue Earth boys basketball team to compete in a State tournament in 1956 weren’t taking any chances.

They were hoping a “good luck” charm would help break the long drought.

“It’s the ball we used for warmups that year. It took us to the State championship game,” says Cherland.

Just one game away from earning a State bid — nothing was going to keep Murphy, Cherland, Armon and Schneider from missing Friday’s game.

Armon didn’t have too far to travel, making the short drive from Blue Earth.

However, Murphy, Cherland and Schneider carpooled from the Twin Cities.

“We were here the other night. We’re really pulling for them,” says Murphy.

The 6-foot-4-inch Murphy, one of the big guys on the 1956 team, also had a personal reason for wanting to see the Bucs go to State.

His sister’s grandson is BEA starting forward, Nate Carr.

“Nate would have been the third generation on the Murphy side to play at State,” he says.

A prior commitment kept co-captain guard Darryl Germann of Blue Earth from being at the game.

“I listened to the game on the radio on and off. I support them 100 percent,” he says. “It seems the older I get, the less games I’m able to go to.”

Although they attended the game, the 1956 foursome was not among those at courtside getting a close-up view.

Murphy says they sat far away from the court –second from the last row in Section 105 — because some of the guys needed space to move around.

He was speaking about himself and Cherland, who stood for most of the game.

The only time the two sat was when Jordan built a double-digit lead in the second half, and when the game’s outcome was clear.

Armon and Schneider calmly remained seated.

There would be an occasional shout of encouragement, a nod of approval or a pumping of the fist when the Bucs did something good.

To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.