by Patrice Peterson
Photography by Justin Eiler
High school senior Stevin Lipp moved to Breckenridge when he was in 5th grade. Living and growing up in a town where the Lipp family name is legendary, Stevin has carried on the family tradition in high school basketball and joined the record books along with his grandfather, father and uncles in that sport.
Stevin’s participation and distinction on the basketball court this year helped lead the Cowboys to their second state tournament appearance in the last three years. His prowess doesn’t end with basketball, however. Stevin has slowly and quietly developed his own individual legacy at Breckenridge with additional major accomplishments in football and track.
The Lipp legend began with Stevin’s late grandfather, who had a long, successful run as the head basketball coach at Breckenridge in the 70s and 80s, taking them to the state tournament in 1979. Although Stevin never met his grandfather, who has been inducted into the Minnesota State High School Coaches Hall of Fame, he proudly carries his name (with a little “twist” on the spelling).
Other well-known Lipp family members who played Breckenridge basketball are Stevin’s father, Rollie, and two uncles, Brady and Scott. One of his uncle Brady’s scoring records (single game scoring record of 39) had been in the books for more than 40 years until Stevin broke it by setting a new single game scoring record of 41 in his senior year. He also recorded his 1,000th career point during the Cowboys’ 26-4 season, and became the No. 2 scorer in team history with 1,124 points. With all those accomplishments, along with the state tournament berth, he was named 2016-17 Heart O’Lakes Conference Boys Basketball MVP.
“Stevin is a guard, but he has the versatility to play multiple positions,” says head coach Arly Ohm. “He does a little bit of everything – you put the ball in his hands so he can make plays. I’ve been watching him since he was a little boy coming to the gym with his dad. He always had popcorn in one hand and a ball in the other.”
Arly says the basketball team’s success this year in sharing the Heart O’Lakes conference title and winning the Section 8AA title was “probably propelled” in part by Stevin’s leadership as far as work ethic, humble attitude, and team spirit.
Stevin says he likes “not only the competitiveness of the game, but just going out there with your teammates and knowing that everyone on the court wants it just as bad as you do.”
Along with three of those teammates, Carson Yaggie, Derek Dahlgren, and Noah Christensen, Stevin was named this year to the All-Conference Team.
The team tried to think of the state tournament as just another game, but looking back, Stevin says that playing games at Concordia College and Williams Arena, no matter what the outcome, was something none of them will ever forget as far as a great experience and great memories.
“He’s not only a team player and a gifted athlete who can slam dunk the ball, but a great kid who reaches out to the younger kids,” Arly adds. “They attend the games, carry his posters, collect his basketball cards, and call him the ‘Michael Jordan of Breckenridge.’”
Although he says he never felt pressured to play sports as he was growing up, Stevin was exposed to college basketball when he was in elementary school in Moorhead.
“My dad was the PA announcer at NDSU, and I would go with him to all the home games, especially when Ben Woodside was playing there,” Stevin recalls. “I wasn’t involved in any organized sports at that time, but I would get there early with my dad and mess around, shoot around with the players. I’ve always loved the game.”
Rollie Lipp is on the radio these days for all the local games on 1450 KBMW as the “voice” of the boys and girls teams for Cowboy athletics.
“So he never missed any of my games,” Stevin says with a laugh. “All of my coaches have had a great impact on me throughout the years, but my dad also played a huge role in my development. He was always there for me, pushing for my best, and always wanted me to be out doing things and getting better.”
Preparing for a high school and collegiate basketball career took many years of preparation and hard work, too.
“I went to a lot of AAU tournaments in the Twin Cities and down in Iowa over the years,” Stevin says. “I never minded, though, and having supportive parents made it easier to make it happen and make it fun.”
Coach Arly adds that the entire family is supportive at the games, too. “The Lipp name is synonymous with basketball in Breckenridge, and it’s Stevin’s true passion,” he says. “You look up in the stands and there’s Grandma Joanne, who is a die-hard basketball fan. You’ve got uncles there and cousins there. Your mom is there. Your dad is doing radio. This family has taught him about putting team first, and he’s done everything we’ve asked as a coaching staff.”
Stevin’s mother, Jen Bucholz, may not have played Breckenridge basketball, but she was a state high jump champion at Frazee High School. “Track is in my bones, too,” he says, “and I was on the track team until this year,” where he competed in the high jump, long jump, and the 100-meter and 400-meter running events. He was a 2-time state qualifier in the high jump.
“In my senior year, I decided to concentrate entirely on basketball,” he says, “and although my parents probably didn’t like hearing that, they understood my decision and thought it would be what’s best for me.”
Sports run deep in the Lipp family, and Stevin brags that his younger sister Shalie, a freshman, is already a high jumper and a “really good” pole vaulter, and will probably play high school basketball in the Lipp tradition. His older sister, Sidney, plays volleyball at University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Stevin’s “passion for ALL competitive sports” isn’t limited to basketball or track. He hadn’t played football at all before he moved to Breckenridge, but after participating in high school football for three years, he says he would definitely miss the game if he wasn’t playing it.
“He is one of the most dynamic and competitive kids I have ever coached,” says Chad Fredericksen, who coaches the football team and is Breckenridge High School’s athletic director. “Stevin’s actions speak way louder than his words.”
Those actions, along with his overall athleticism, set him apart in football and led him to a variety of statistics and awards recognition. Unlike at the bigger schools, where players concentrate on one position, Stevin was a standout all over the field.
Recognized as MVP of the Breckenridge football team for his senior year, he was also awarded Heart O’Lakes Conference Receiver of the Year. He received All District and Section honors both his junior and senior years.
• On offense, he had 54
receptions for 1,178 yards and
13 touchdowns in his senior
year (85 receptions for 1,892
yards and 20 touchdowns in
• He also had 31 carries for 504
yards and 5 touchdowns
rushing his senior year
(46 carries for 704 yards and 6
touchdowns in overall career).
• On defense, he had 8
interceptions in his career.
• On special teams, he had 4
carrier special teams returns for
touchdowns in overall career.
“Stevin is a competitor – it’s as simple as that,” Chad adds. “You’re not going to get anybody who lays it out on the field or on the court more so than what Stevin has in his career here. In one game, our quarterback hurt his hand, and we just put Stevin back there and said ‘Run.’ He’s a special athlete and one of those kids who doesn’t come along very often.”
Stevin’s mother participated on the track team at the School of Science in Wahpeton, and that’s one of the options he’s considering for going to school and playing basketball next year. Other colleges, including St. John’s, have shown interest, but he’s currently keeping his options open and trying to decide what path and what college will be the best choice for him. He wants to major in business and marketing, and he wants to continue his participation in sports…in one way or another.
“I have no regrets looking back,” he says. “I’m just trying to look forward now and make the right decisions for me.”