Winnebago Indians win first state title in 75 years

Posted By: Camila Orti

As the Winnebago boys basketball team took the court at Pinnacle Bank Arena, they were looking to make history.

Their 66-51 victory against Columbus Scotus Saturday made the Indians state champs for the first time in 75 years.

“I don’t even know if they know how much it means to each and every one of us, all of the community, the surrounding communities,” Mom Darla Lapointe said.

The Winnebago Reservation is located 20 miles south of Sioux City. The last time the community of about 2,000 won a state basketball title, Franklin Roosevelt had just been elected to his third term as president.

“It’s a great feeling that we proved everybody wrong, all the people that said we wouldn’t make it here, we shouldn’t be here,” sophomore David Wingett said, “it’s just a great, amazing feeling.”

Lapointe got to watch her two sons lift the trophy up together, and help put her hometown back on the map.

“Ever since they were little I’ve waited for this moment and it’s finally here and it just an overwhelming feeling,” Lapointe said, “I just started shedding tears of joy and excitement.”

Those tears were shared by other members of the reservation, who packed the arena with blue. Many are calling the Indians the Cinderella Story of the tournament, but team members say they’ve been working for this all season, and weren’t surprised.

“I mean just 24/7, 365 we’ve been at the gym and practice,” senior Mathew Wingett said, “we just go as hard as we could every day.”

The hard work has paid off, and for first-year head coach Jeff Berridge, it’s been a dream come true.

“I had this goal a long time ago that I was going to coach these boys, and I came here and I did it and it feels so good,” Berridge said.