50 YEARS AGO: Fort Yates' Wyman Archambault makes "Miracle Shot" & helps Warriors defeat Minot High in 1973 Class A state title game in 3OT
March 10, 2023 6:00 pm
Back Row (Left to Right): Clark Swisher (Head Coach), Albert Gipp Jr., Kenny Walks, Darrell Eaglestaff, Roger Goudreaux, Bill Eaglestaff, Wyman Archambault, Sherman Laubach (Asst Coach). Front Row (L to R): Kevin Heck (Student Mgr), Jerry Grey Bear; Tony Bobtail Bear, Oliver Eagleman, Verle Red Tomahawk, Gus Claymore, Jay Taken Alive, Sheldon Spiegelman (Student Mgr)
By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
BISMARCK – The 1973 NDHSAA Class A boys basketball state championship game is remembered 50 years later as one of the greatest games ever played in state history.
The championship game that pitted the smallest Class A school at the time – Fort Yates – and the largest Class A school – Minot High – would go to triple overtime in front of a packed crowd at the Bismarck Civic Center.
That night – March 10, 1973 – Fort Yates forever cemented its place in North Dakota sports history by defeating the mighty Magicians 79-78.
The journey to history was a team effort with some individual heroics mixed in along the way.
The path to the championship game was anything but easy as Fort Yates edged Wahpeton 54-50 in the quarterfinals and then defeated Langdon 63-62 in the semifinals.
Fort Yates would play in its first ever state championship game in program history. The Warriors’ opponent – Minot High had played in a state championship game 14 different occasions and as one of the state’s top boys basketball programs, boasted 10 total state championships won prior to 1972-73 season.
Though it would seem a mismatch, Fort Yates had the talent to compete with any Class A team in the state and after playing two tight games in Bismarck already that weekend, the Warriors were ready to seize the opportunity in front of them.
Fort Yates trailed 18-13 after the first quarter, but recovered to tie the game 32-32 at halftime. In the second half, Minot High appeared to have the better of the Warriors as it led by eight points with only 42 seconds remaining in the game. That’s when Fort Yates senior guard Wyman Archambault stepped up his game. He made two free throws with 42 seconds left; then a teammate intercepted a pass and scored with 28 seconds remaining. Then Fort Yates stole another pass and scored with 21 seconds remaining. Minot High then turned the ball over again, and Fort Yates had the ball at mid-court.
With just two seconds left on the clock, Archambault ran to the left side near the top of the key, caught the inbounds pass and launched a turn-around shot that had a high arch and banked in off the backboard at the buzzer to tie the game at 68.
In overtime, the Fort Yates crowd chanted, “Archambault . . . Archambault . . . Archambault,” and the senior sparkplug responded, making four points at critical times during the three overtimes and ultimately helped lead the Warriors to the state championship victory.
Fort Yates, coached by Clark Swisher, finished the season 18-9. Following the championship game, sports reporters dubbed the last-second 20-foot fadeaway jump-shot bucket by Wyman Archambault a “Miracle Shot,” the Warriors a “Miracle Team,” and the triple-overtime contest the “Game of the Century” in North Dakota.
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