It was the Watseka Warriors’ fourth throwback game. This game was a bit special as it was a ’70s inspired game to recognize St. Anne Cardinals’ alum Jack Sikma, who was recently inducted in the National Basketball Association Hall of Fame.
“It was thought of doing these throwback games four years ago. The student body likes it; they get into it, dressing up,” said Watseka Community High School Athletic Director Barry Bauer.
“This year we thought we could do it in a game against St. Anne and recognize Jack Sikma. There’s a lot of kids around who don’t know how great of a player he was.”
During half time of Saturday’s varsity game between the two teams, Bauer read some stats about Sikma, and the meetings of the Warriors against the Cardinals in the 1970s.
Sickma was a 6’11” center/power forward and called “The Wichert Wonder”.
He graduated from St. Anne in ’73. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan in ’77. That same year he was the eight overall draft pick in the first round, selected from the Seattle SuperSonics. The SuperSonics would go on to retire the number “43” he wore.
He was an NBA player for the SuperSonics from ’77-86 and for the Milwaukee Bucks from ’86-91.
He was an NBA champion in 1979, and a seven-time NBA All-Star in the years 1979-85.
He would go on to be an assistant coach for the SuperSonics, Houston Rockets, and Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s currently a consultant for the Toronto Raptors, and he has been since 2017.
The Warriors played the Cardinals eight times in the decade: with no game played in 1973 or 1974. Watseka defeated St. Anne each of those year except 1972 and 1977.
The St. Anne game was Watseka Coach Baldwin’s first win as the Warriors’ coach.
In 1972 the Cardinals were to go on to finish the season placing fourth at the IHSA Class A State.
In 1975 the Warriors would end the season placing third at the IHSA Class A State. In 1976 and 1978 the Warriors would go on to Sweet 16 in Class A State
Doug Redenius, a teammate of Sikma, was asked to speak before the game.
Sikma sent a message for Redenius to read:
“I’m honored to have St. Anne High play a throwback game against a very worthy and familiar Opponent in Watseka. My earliest basketball memories were attending high school basketball games with my father and dreaming of playing for St. Anne High. Since then basketball has taken me to places I could not imagine but it all started with that simple joy of playing with my friends at St. Anne High. To both teams have a blast and win or lose leave it on the floor. Good luck and as always Go St. Anne!”
Redenius also recognized John Gagnon, who was at Saturday’s throwback game, and Al Hubert as the coaches of theirs at the time.
Redenius presented Cardinals’ Head Coach Rick Schoon with a signed ball from Sikma to place in the cabinets at the high school.
Warriors Head Coach Chad Cluver said playing the throwback games is always a fun game to play.
He said it was nice to be able to play this one against St. Anne, and in doing it honor the Cardinals’ Jack Sikma in the process.