Finishing the story

1939 team displayed in halls of Rogers City High School

Harold and Mariah Newhouse present the finished trophy to Rogers City Athletic Director Samantha Amrhein and Hurons head basketball coach Matt Ponik during the second half of a JV boys basketball game. (L to R) Matt Ponik, Samantha Amrhein, Mariah Newhouse and Harold Newhouse.

ROGERS CITY — Exactly two months ago, Harold Newhouse completed the untold story of the 1939 Rogers City boys basketball team which was the first and only undefeated Hurons basketball team in school history.

On Tuesday, Newhouse presented Rogers City Athletic Director Samantha Amrhein and current Hurons head basketball coach Matt Ponik the finished trophy, a team medal that his father Bill Newhouse received, and several articles and photos displaying the team that went unheard of for so many years to finally be displayed in a case outside the Hurons gymnasium.

“This was so special for the school to receive a piece of history like this and we are so thankful that Harold took his time and took it upon himself to present us with this so that the 1939 team can finally be recognized and displayed properly in the hallways of our school,” Amrhein said. “I’m at a loss for words. Things like this don’t happen often and we are just so fortunate that Harold went out of his way to do this for Rogers City.”

The old trophy that simply read “1939 Regional Class B at Petoskey won by” has since been completed after Newhouse took the trophy to Bolenz Jewelry in Alpena and shared the story with them. Bolenz then engraved the trophy free of charge so that the trophy reads “1939 Regional Class B at Petoskey won by Rogers City Hurons 15 vs Traverse City Trojans 13 March 11, 1939.”

The team roster in also located on the side of the trophy with the remaining message on the front of the trophy, below the regional score which reads “1938-1939 First undefeated team EVER. Regular season, Varsity B basketball team. 13-0 Regionals Champs. Quarterfinal Champs. 16-1 overall.”

Once Newhouse finished getting the trophy engraved, he set up a date for him and his daughter Mariah Newhouse to present the trophy and other items to the school.

“When I first saw the trophy, I needed to finish this and I’m fortunate the people at Bolenz Jewelry were so kind to do it free of charge,” Newhouse said. “After everything was complete, I knew I wanted to give the trophy and other keepsakes back to the school so the proper information could finally be displayed.”

The small presentation took place during halftime of the Rogers City boys JV game against Mio on Tuesday outside of the gym in the commons. Newhouse and his daughter handed the items over to Amrhein and Ponik who were in shock of what they were receiving. Newhouse then gave a speech explaining just what Amrhein, Ponik and the school was receiving.

“It was a complete shock for me. I had no idea that anything was going to be presented to us on that night. It was really cool to see a piece of history completed and hear the story behind it,” Ponik said.

79 years later, the 1939 Rogers City boys basketball team finally takes its place, being displayed outside of the gym for all who pass by to see. As for Newhouse, he hopes that this piece of history will serve as motivation for other Huron teams in the future.

“It is really special and really means a lot that this piece of history is finally going to be displayed forever inside Rogers City High School,” Newhouse said. “I also hope that current and future Huron basketball players will see this and hopefully will someday make history of their own.”

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at jzawacki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690.