Former Armour standout relives basketball memories through daughter
ARMOUR -- When the Harrisburg girls basketball team won the state title in 2013, Dana (Nielsen) Honner relived a lot of memories from her time as a basketball standout for the Armour Packers in the mid 1980s.
Honnor's daughter, Danni, was a sophomore on the Harrisburg team that won the state championship in March in Watertown.
"That for me was very emotional," Honner said. "It brought back a lot of memories of high school, and I had actually won a state tournament in that same gym on that very floor."
Honner was a five-time Class B state champion with the Armour girls basketball team from 1983 to 1987 and helped lead the team to a 123-4 overall record during high school career.
Honner said she remembers spending a lot of time at the Armour gym because her father was close friends with Burnell Glanzer, who is still Armour's athletic director, and could easily get into the gym.
"It was something to do," Honner said. "It was good bonding time with me and my dad. He helped me with my shot, and it was just what we did."
When Honner was an eighth grader on the team in 1983, Armour won its first state title against Bennett County. The team leader was Dana's all-state sister Candi, who was a senior that year.
Armour went on to win four more state titles with Honner leading the team at center. She still holds the state record for most points in a championship game for Class B girls with 32. She recorded the mark in 1985 when Armour defeated Wakonda.
"Had I not grown up in Armour and been a part of the teams that I was, my life could have turned out a lot differently," Honner said. "I didn't realize how blessed I was to grow up in the right town at the right time."
During her senior season, Honner averaged 26 points per game and led Armour to its fifth straight title. She finished her high school career with 2,310 points and 965 rebounds, was named to the all-state team her last three years and was named South Dakota's Miss Basketball in 1987.
Honner said she still has a lot of connections with people from Armour and keeps in touch through Facebook. Her parents have died since she moved away, so she doesn't make it to Armour often.
"Armour will always have a special place in my heart," said Honner, who mentioned she recently attended a team camp with her daughter at Mount Marty College and saw the Tripp-Delmont/Armour players. "It was weird to not see the maroon and gold because they were in black and blue. That's a little bit sad for me, but I realize things change over time."
Since Honner graduated from Armour, the school has co-oped with Tripp-Delmont.
After high school, Honner attended Augustana College and played basketball for Dave Krauth. She was recognized on the all-North Central Conference team four times and was voted Most Valuable Player in the NCC as a junior in 1992 and senior in 1993. She racked up a total of 1,978 points and 894 rebounds during her four years with the Vikings. She finished her career averaging 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and held a 53.8 field-goal percentage.
Honner said she redshirted her freshman year because she was pregnant with her son, Jerzy.
"It was just a really good group of girls at Augie," she said. "We were all friends the moment we got there and we all supported each other. It was a very good experience."
Honner has been inducted into the Augustana Hall of Fame and, most recently, the South Dakota Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.
"That, obviously, is an honor," Honner said. "Just to look at all the players who have been inducted, it's pretty amazing to look at all those players and know that I am a part of that."
Honner currently lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, Steve. She has three children -- Jerzy, 25, Danni, who is going to be a senior at Harrisburg, and Brecli, who will be a sixth grader. Honner works as a fourth-grade teacher at Journey Elementary in Harrisburg and has been teaching there for the past 15 years.
Honner said she is looking forward to watching Danni finish out her senior year at Harrisburg and helping her decide if she wants to continue to play basketball after high school. Honner added she is really happy she will have six more years of basketball as Brecli is playing basketball at the middle school level.