Averkamp, Strack merge five decades of Germantown hoops
School's top all-time scorers honored for offensive exploits
It was senior night for the boys basketball team at Germantown on Feb. 25, and the silky smooth forward with the great outside touch from long ago and the current shot-blocking post without peers engaged in a ceremonial passing of the torch.
The older man in his topcoat was Dick Strack, who held the Warhawks' all-time scoring record for 49 years. The younger man, still in his warm-ups, was Ben Averkamp, who broke Strack's mark Feb. 20.
Coach Steve Showalter arranged for a ceremonial ball to be brought to the event. On one side, were the accomplishments of Strack, the most remarkable of which was the still set-in-stone single-season mark of 520 points (23.6 per game). He finished with 1,036 career points and his senior-year team of 1959-60 posted one of the best marks in school history (15-7).
On the other side of the ball are Averkamp's numbers. Along with the still-to-be-filled-in final point total - he was at 1,067 through the end of the regular season - he is expected to hold career marks in rebounds, blocked shots and probably assists.
The two posed for pictures, smiling for posterity as history was honored. Strack was happy to see this day come.
"I've watched him the last three games and he is a really good player," Strack said. "He's really a load down below, shoots his free throws well and he's one of the best defensive players I've ever seen.
"And no, I'm not really sorry to see it (the record) go. It's about time someone got it."
It seems a world away and a lifetime ago that Strack earned the record. Germantown was in only its third year of existence. Strack was a freshman at West Bend before old Washington (now Germantown) High School opened up his sophomore year. The new basketball team was coached by the late legend Jim Justesen and was filled with young talent like Strack and forward George Knepel.
Their well-followed games were at the old Kennedy Middle School gym and they played a style that Showalter and Averkamp would appreciate, running and hurtling toward the basket at will. It was a style still very much alive Feb. 25, when the Warhawks concluded the regular season and celebrated the evening with an 84-37 rout of Grafton.
Strack got his hoops start shooting at a basket attached to the garage on his family farm a half-mile outside of Germantown.
He was a perimeter player with a good jump shot. His talent got noticed by small colleges around the state but he decided to go into construction and metalworking. He married, raised two children and retired about five years ago.
Showalter said Strack has been both humble and supportive of Averkamp's efforts.
"The bar had been set pretty high, but Ben is a pretty humble guy too," Showalter said. "All he ever talks about is the team."
Some day this month, Averkamp's final numbers will be written on the ceremonial ball and it will be set in a place of honor in the school.
The two stars will be linked forever, celebrating almost 50 years of Germantown hoops history.
Steven L. Tietz can be reached at (262) 446-6619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other G-town records
SCORING AVERAGE - SEASON:
Paul Wagner 25.6 ppg. (1984-85)
FIELD GOALS - GAME: Wagner 18
FREE THROWS - GAME: Wagner 17
POINTS - GAME: Randy Reiner 41
ASSISTS - SEASON: Carl Canter 120 (1987-88)
ASSISTS - GAME: Canter 13
WHO: Germantown vs. Kettle Moraine/Hamilton winner
WHAT: WIAA regional final
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Germantown High School
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