Welcome to Iowa Public Television! If you are seeing this message, you are using a browser that does not support web standards. This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device. Read more on our technical tips page.

Iowa Public Television

 
More Than A Game: 6-On-6 Basketball In Iowa

This one-hour Iowa Public Television documentary takes a look back at girls' 6-on-6 basketball and what it meant to generations of young women who played it. One of the most acclaimed sports in Iowa history, 6-on-6 was especially popular in small towns. It was there that young women became queens of the court, where communities ralled behind their daughters, and where school leaders, mostly male, fought for girls' equality. Like nowhere else in the country, young women in Iowa have played the game of basketball for over a century.

In 1993, the era of girls' 6-on-6 basketball came to an end. The game was unique. The girls who played it and the rural communities that loved it were part of an experience that may never again be replicated in any sport, by either gender. For Iowans, it was More Than a Game.

Some photos Copyright 2008, reprinted with permission by The Des Moines Register

Stories

Vivian (Emerson) DuShane and Zola (Emerson) Mullenbach

posted on March 4, 2008

Vivian (Emerson) DuShane and Zola (Emerson) Mullenbach
Two players, sisters Zola and Vivian Emerson, remember playing basketball in the 1920s for Little Cedar High School. Zola (now Mullenbach) played from 1928-35, including her junior high years. Vivian (now DuShane) played 4-5 years from... Read More »

Sandy (Van Cleave) Little, Player

posted on March 3, 2008

Sandy (Van Cleave) Little, Player
Sandy (Van Cleave) Little was one of the finest all-around six-on-six player of her time - 1968-1971. Her team, Montezuma, won back-to-back state titles. Her mother, Mavis Van Cleave, played at Gibson High School in the1930s. Read More »

Jeanette (Olson) Lietz,Player

posted on February 29, 2008

Jeanette (Olson) Lietz,Player
Jeanette (Olson) Lietz played for Everly High School. She was a high scorer, and tough 1968 state competitor with Denise and Cindy Long. Read More »

Kim (Peters) Wilson, Player

posted on February 29, 2008

Kim (Peters) Wilson, Player
Kim (Peters) Wilson was a guard for Andrew High School from 1974-1977. She was named the 1976 captain of the All-Tournament Team. Read More »

Deb Coates, Player

posted on February 27, 2008

Deb Coates, Player
Deb Coates was a legendary forward who played on a legendary team for a legendary coach in the early to mid-1970s. Her coach was Vernon “Bud” McLearn. Team: Mediapolis Bullettes, went to state 21 times in 26 years, winning two titles. Read More »

Denise (Long) Rife, Player

posted on February 27, 2008

Denise (Long) Rife, Player
Denise (Long) Rife: Player, Union-Whitten, high scorer, 1968 state winners. High school basketball career 6,250 points. In 1969, she was thirteenth draft pick of the NBA’s San Francisco Warriors – the first female to ever be drafted to play on... Read More »

Jan Jensen, Player

posted on February 27, 2008

Jan Jensen, Player
Jan Jensen: Player, Elk Horn-Kimballton High School, 1980s. Her grandma played 6 on 6. All-American at Drake University, Associate Head Coach for the University of Iowa women's’ basketball team. Read More »

The Lorenzen Women, Players

posted on February 27, 2008

The Lorenzen Women, Players
An interview with all three Lorenzen Women: Lynne Lorezen, Jill Lorenzen, Lori Lorenzen. All played 6 on 6 basketball. Lynne Lorenzen was a star forward in the mid-1980s and the all-time leading scorer for girls’ basketball nationwide. She scored... Read More »

Share Your Iowa Story

Did you play six-on-six basketball in Iowa? What is your favorite memory of that era? Share your Iowa story.

comments powered by Disqus

Comment Policy

Iowa Public Television encourages conversation and debate around issues, events and ideas related to program topics.

  • The editorial staff of Iowa Public Television reserves the right to take down comments it deems inappropriate.
  • Profanity, personal attacks, off-topic posts, advertisements and spam will not be tolerated.

Find out more about IPTV.org's privacy policy and terms of use.