Twenty-five seconds lasted a lifetime: Confidence led to Armour’s late flurry to stun Beresford in ‘79 title game

Armour's Dan Freidel (24) shoots over a Hamlin defender during the first round of the 1979 Class B state basketball tournament at the Rapid City Civic Arena. (Courtesy photo)

RAPID CITY -- “Twenty-five seconds is a lifetime.”

When Armour standout Dan Freidel delivered that message to his teammates in the huddle, he believed his team could overcome a four-point deficit. He just did not expect the events in the next 25 seconds to be remembered 41 years later.

There was no 3-point line, no shot clock and Beresford’s leading scorer, Keith Larson, was at the free-throw line with a chance to ice the 1979 Class B state championship game against a heavily favored Packer team looking for back-to-back state titles.

Larson would miss the free-throw and Armour eventually had a chance to tie the game in the waning moments. Freidel dished to center Brian Bindert, who canned a jumper that would have given the Packers the lead if there had been a 3-point line.

Instead the game went to overtime and Armour held the Watchdogs scoreless in a 55-51 win. It extended a win streak that would eventually reach a state-record 64 games and sending a large portion of the 11,500 raucous fans in the Rapid City Civic Arena home disappointed with the outcome, but also with an ever-lasting memory.


“The fans were circled around the court -- they were smelling blood,” Freidel said. “They were just ready to cram the court. … After that, you could just feel the whole building go, ‘whoosh.’ It was eerily silent when Brian hit that shot. It was like they knew it was over; they had their chance.”

One year earlier, Armour was the tournament darling on the way to a 57-53 win over Elk Point in the state finals, a year after dropping a 63-49 title game to Webster. But by 1979, the Packers moved from underdog to villain and they felt it.

As Armour players strolled to McDonald’s after a morning shootaround in Rapid City that weekend, fans would voice their displeasure as they drove past, adding to the pressure of repeating as state champions, seven years before the advent of the three-class system.

“It was like a constant pressure,” said Freidel, who now lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota after a three-sport collegiate career at Augustana University. “All three games we played were close, and I think the pressure at that time was starting to build. Beresford was good, but I think the pressure got to us in the championship game more than any time that year.”

Beresford was able to dictate the pace of the game, using a defense that surrendered 44.8 points per game that season to slow Armour’s up-tempo offense. They seemingly had the Packers on the ropes and the game no longer appeared in doubt with 25 seconds left -- to everyone but Armour.

Freidel was not the only one confident in the comeback odds. Armour head coach Burnell Glanzer -- who went on to amass 617 wins and three state titles -- created a never-give-up mentality long before Freidel’s famous words of inspiration, a line he admittedly lifted from legendary Marquette University coach Al McGuire.

“(Glanzer) instilled in us to be competitive and that’s why we had some success,” Bindert said. “We just had to be ready to play. There’s lots of life lessons in sports and to be confident is one of those lessons.”


Armour basketball coach Burnell Glanzer discusses strategy with his team in a timeout during the 1979 Class B state tournament at the Rapid City Civic Arena. (Courtesy photo)

The play that sent the game to overtime was not originally designed to end with Bindert. It was a free-flowing play that allowed Freidel to create an opportunity off the dribble and find an open man, Bindert simply happened to be the open man.

“We had outstanding point guards that could penetrate on most people,” Glanzer recalled from his winter home in Gulf Shores, Alabama. “We just trusted them to penetrate, draw the defense and find the open man. Bindert is the center and he’s hanging out at the top of the key, so you’re going to come off him to stop penetration and we pitched to him. Brian could shoot, he always could shoot.”

Bindert did not know how many points he finished with, but felt he missed a few easy baskets earlier that could have made his late-game heroics unnecessary.

The 1979 Armour Packers boys basketball team won its second consecutive Class B state championship with a 55-51 win over Beresford at the Rapid City Civic Arena. (Courtesy photo)

He also did not know how he ended up at the top of the key, but the shot went down and helped make the game one of four finalists for The Daily Republic’s Battle of the Best Games boys series, which started last month by having readers vote on the top high school basketball title games.

Readers are being called upon again to pick the No. 1 game in each category through online balloting. Voting is now open through, and will remain open through Saturday.


“I caught the ball and shot it,” Bindert said. “I didn’t really think much about it. After it left my hand, I looked and it went in."

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