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How Times Have Changed

January 15, 2019
By Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

When Emmetsburg played West Bend-Mallard in basketball last week, I went to the game to take pictures. It was quite a culture shock to walk into the gymnasiun and see girls playing five-man basketball.

I graduated in 1982, playing six-man basketball. At the end of the basketball season, when I walked out of the gym for the last time; I never set foot in a high school gym again until last week.

I knew they had switched out about 25 years ago, I just hadn't seen it played. I thought I would reminisce a little about those days of six-man basketball. I'm sure many out there have memories of playing that way also.

Six-on-six basketball once dominated the girls sport. There is no girls sport today where the state champions would pack 15,000 fans into an arena to watch a game. There are fewer coaches every year from that era of the sport and as the players get older memories fade into myths.

The last championship six-on-six girls basketball game was played in 1993 and with it came the end of an era.

Although today's girls basketball takes stamina to run up and down a full court, it took skill and talent to be able to get to the basket from center court in two dribbles and make a layup.

Like the name, a team had six girls on the court at one time; however, there was a front court and a back court. There were three forwards in the front court and their main objective was to shoot the ball and score. In the back court, there were three guards and their main objective was to stop the opposing teams three forwards from scoring and get the ball back to the forwards. A good forward could make 60 points a game or more and a player could not cross the center line.

At the beginning of the first quarter and beginning of the third quarter, one forward from wach team would meet in the center circles for a jump ball to get started. As I mentioned before, a player only got two dribbles, so you need to be able to really take long strides. Once your two dribbles were taken, a player either had to shoot or pass the ball.

You could not tieup the ball outside of the lane and when there was a tieup, there was a jump ball in the area at the top of the key with the free throw line. Finally, after a basket was made, a referee would bring the ball up the floor and inbound it to a forward at midcourt.

I have two games that really stand out in my memory.

On February 7, 1980, my father passed away. I did not go to school that day because of this and yet it was a Friday - game day. It was also the night of our Twin Lakes Conference game at Havelock againdt Havelock-Plover. I really wanted to suit up for the game so my mom called the school. Normally, if you weren't in school on game day, you didn't suit up for a game. However, my coach said I could for my only reason -- my dad had never seen me play basketball and now he could and it was the last game of the regular season.

I did get to play the last 5 minutes or so and I could feel dad looking down. Unfortunately, we lost the game in triple overtime 100 to 99.

My other fond memory is starting when I was a sophmore during a district tournament game in the Spencer Field House. Being a sophmore, I hadn't started all year but was the first substitute. Our starting post-forward was sick wouldn't be alble to play. It was such a special game for me and I had a pretty decent soe for the game. We, unfortunately lost this one also.

My memories of playing six-man basketball are some of my best memories from high school. The comradary that is built with the other players lasts a lifetime.

I hope your memories of the game are special also..



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