Posts Tagged ‘Tom Sahli’

The Zinger lives!

One mission accomplished.

Thanks to a Google search where he inadvertently discovered my obsession with his high school hoops exploits, Jack Elzinga has helped me fill in one of the missing pieces of Coupeville High School boys basketball history.

As I’ve tried to compile a complete scoring record for a program which began in 1917, it’s been an uphill battle, especially with anything before the “modern” era.

I’ve felt pretty good about what we have, which goes 398 players deep, though the gaps will always bother me.

While we may never track down stats for the guys from the ’30s and ’40s, I can deal with that.

Scoring was at a much-lower rate back then, and no one from that time period would likely crack the career top 100, much less top 10.

But three guys from the ’50s — Elzinga, Tom Sahli, and Jerry Zylstra — kept me awake at night.

Well that, and the fact “Big” Mike Criscuola may never get his proper due, as his missing 8th grade stats and questionable playoff totals from other seasons have him #5 all-time, when he’s closer to #1.

But back to Elzinga, Sahli, and Zylstra, and the “missing” seasons of 1951-1952 and 1953-1954.

Or … formerly missing seasons, at least in the case of 53-54.

Thanks to Elzinga, who is a Professor Emeritus for the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida, we now have scoring stats for that campaign.

The fast facts:

Sahli, a senior, scored 409 points that season, which is the seventh-best single-season performance by a Wolf boy.

Combined with the 310 he scored as a junior, he now sits with 719 points on my list, jumping from #90 to #19 on the career scoring chart.

Though, if someone can come up with totals from Sahli’s sophomore year (51-52), he’ll shoot even higher.

Always something to keep me awake.

Elzinga and Zylstra, sophomores on that 53-54 squad, went for 124 and 122 points, raising their (now final) career totals to 770 and 527, respectively.

That moves Elzinga from #25 to #14 and Zylstra from #59 to #42 all-time.

All while giving current Coupeville sniper Hawthorne Wolfe a little more work to do, as the 1950’s-era players getting their rightful due bumps him back (for a moment) from #47 to #49.

With 492 points and counting and nine games left in this pandemic-shortened season, the CHS junior, who has often expressed interest in players who came before him, will likely take that as a challenge.

As we update the ever-evolving 104-year history of Wolf boys basketball, I also offer up the following from Elzinga.

Like my communications with legendary former CHS coach Bob Barker, it reads more like a well-written book than an email.



I did a vanity Google this afternoon and came upon your blog.

I can fill in some of your gaps. I have the 1954 Leloo Cly.

That was my sophomore year and Tom Sahli’s senior year. He averaged 19.5 pts/game. Later I saw him play against Elgin Baylor.

We were a pretty good team – the yearbook said we had the best record in “several years.”

Sahli was our star – we mostly passed the ball around until we could get it to him.

Leloo Cly doesn’t record rebounds but Tom seemed to snatch every one. 

I started every game, averaging 5.6 pts/game.

After Tom graduated I became the center and had two productive seasons. 

I was All-District in the end-of-year tournaments both years. As I recall, I averaged about 15 pts/game both seasons.

Gil Winje put together some scrapbooks of press clippings of the Tri-County basketball league.

These clippings were new to me – no one in Coupeville read the Everett paper.

Gil did this for his brother who played for Granite Falls. He did this for other years too.

Getting the scrapbook of my senior year of basketball was a fabulous treat.

We had a successful season that year but fell short of going to state.

La Conner was a big rivalry but we beat them home-and-away that year, but lost to them in the consolation game of the district tourney.

They went on to state where Gail Thulen set the place on fire, shattering records, scoring 41 points in one game to set the state tourney record.

We’d seen a lot of Gail and I guess we’d learned how to corral him.

I think Gail got a scholarship to Washington State.

Me? I got a scholarship to Everett Junior College, where I played one year before moving on to U-Dub to focus on my studies.

They don’t put this in the record books but I’m sure I’m the only All-District player who survived polio five years previously.

Harold Buckner was an excellent baseball player as you have noted in your blog. We’re still good friends.

This has been a ball for me. So happy to share things with someone with your quirky interests.

If I can find any more info I’ll send it along.

Best regards,


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