March Madness History Edition: Girls Six-on-Six in Iowa
March 7, 2010 10:15 AM   Subscribe

The national record (PDF) for the most career points scored in high school basketball is held by a woman: Lynne Lorenzen from Ventura High School. Lorenzen and her sisters played six on six basketball, a fast paced and high scoring game. Six on six was a great tradition in Iowa, surviving until 1993, when Oklahoma became the last state to have games. There is both a documentary and a book detailing the nuanced history of the game in Iowa.
posted by achmorrison (12 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think this should count as high-school basketball as far as records are concerned. When only 3 people are allowed to shoot the ball yes the individual scoring is going to be higher than in normal basketball. The rules are too different to fold the records into standard basketball.
posted by thecjm at 10:29 AM on March 7, 2010

Interesting history. My grandmother was a star in six-on-six basketball growing up in Oklahoma (back in the late 30s/early 40s). She was still drubbing me in tennis as of my mid-to-late teens (in the early 90s), when she finally had to quit playing due to the cancer that was supposed to kill her.

I should give her a call. My grandmother rules.
posted by norm at 10:44 AM on March 7, 2010 [4 favorites]

Any relation to Jared Lorenzen?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:07 AM on March 7, 2010

Interesting. I guess in a Title IX perfect world there are no "men's sports" and "women's sports," and mostly I prefer that to the segregated alternative, but it's still always bittersweet seeing an old tradition like this fade away.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:35 AM on March 7, 2010

Regarding the record, if you look at the PDF, you'll see that the NFHSA actually breaks down career records by boys basketball, girls 5 on 5, and girls 6 on 6. So, take your pick I guess.

If you want another interesting slice on the high school career record you should look at the guy who holds the number two spot for boys basketball. Turns out, he has over a 1000 points in high school games not included in his stats for the record book. He played for 6 years on the high school team, starting when he was in 7th grade. His stats for the record book only include the years he was actually in high school, though.

So, I guess in the interest of making a tight post, I was a little sloppy. I should have said that the most points scored in a four year high school basketball career was scored by a girl. The way the game is played explains why it leads to high scores, of course. Doesn't make it less interesting or impressive to me, at least.
posted by achmorrison at 11:38 AM on March 7, 2010

Any relation to Jared Lorenzen?

Jared Lorenzen aka The Pillsbury Throwboy aka Battleship Lorenzen grew up in KS. This school is in IA, so probably not.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:40 AM on March 7, 2010

I once lost a game of H-O-R-S-E to Lynne Lorenzen. In my defense, I'd just ridden 60 miles on my bicycle so didn't have my game legs. True story.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:35 PM on March 7, 2010

And for the record, I was in high school in Iowa when they made the transition from 6-on-6 to 5-on-5. Sorry, while curiously unique, I would not call it a "great tradition". Its existence was because they thought that girls couldn't run full court so they created a game that consisted of two half court 3-on-3 games, with some girls never doing anything but play defense. Lame for the spectators, lame for the players. The world is better off with it gone.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:38 PM on March 7, 2010

I was a freshman in high school when Oklahoma first agreed to let women play 5-on-5; at the time it was only the city schools that switched over, but eventually most of the rest of the state's schools switched over too, leaving only a bunch of small town teams when the final championship was played in 1992.

I wouldn't say it was lame. It was just different -- essentially two half-court games that emphasized fundamentals. If you like the half court game, it was good basketball. If you're a fan of the transition game, it was slow, plodding, and lacking flow.

The fact it was a half-court game was one reason the defenders gave for hanging onto it, that it taught women those fundamentals far better than the 5-on-5 game could. Of course, the problem with that thinking is two-fold: One, the players were only playing offense or defense and didn't have to transition between the two, and two, the half-court game is useless in a time when women are playing full-court defenses in college.

I can't find a cite now, but I remember that 6-on-6 was an accident -- a women's coach read Naismith's book on basketball and completely misunderstood his diagrams. The whole "better for dainty women" thing came into it as well, of course, but as I understood the history it wasn't that the rules were dumbed down but were already messed up and dumbed down more later.
posted by dw at 1:49 PM on March 7, 2010

Look, I don't know about the original motivation for the existence of 6 on 6, but I seriously doubt that many Iowans in the 80s and early 90s really believed that farm girls (or any girl for that matter) couldn't run full court.

I do know that there are some people (my wife included) who miss seeing it played. As for it being a great tradition, I guess that's a matter of personal opinion, but CBS news thought it was worthy of attention in 1988, as you can see in one of the youtube clips.
posted by achmorrison at 1:58 PM on March 7, 2010

In Pat Summitt's autobiography (I think it's "Reach for the Summitt" with Sally Jenkins), she mentions playing six-on-six when she was growing up, but under a variation that had a roving player allowed to play both ends. Naturally she was the rover.

IIRC, six-on-six ended in both Iowa and Oklahoma as a result of Title IX lawsuits filed on behalf of high school players who felt they would have unequal opportunity for scholarships compared to girls from schools that already played five-on-five.
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:01 PM on March 7, 2010

I remember playing a pickup basketball game with Lynn Lorenzen once in high school.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 7:32 PM on March 7, 2010

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