Girls basketball in ’73 was preparing for takeoff

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        Fifty years ago, during the autumn of 1973, girls basketball players at some of the high schools across South Dakota were getting their first opportunity to experience the thrill of competition against teams from other schools.

        A number of schools played a scattering of games that season. Others did not. But by the following year girls basketball had gained momentum. More schools were involved statewide and more players were participating.

        There was greater organization in 1974 and many schedules were expanded. Yankton, for example, played a total of 12 games. The Gazelles went 8-4. But there was no reward yet for girls teams at the conclusion of the season. In order to join the South Dakota boys in the excitement and fun of postseason play, the girls had to wait another year.

        The first two-class girls state tournaments were held in 1975. Yankton won the Class A championship. Jefferson swept to the championship in Class B. Fans appreciated the enthusiasm and the effort of the players. And they were impressed by the potential. Girls basketball was moving steadily forward in South Dakota and it has never looked back.

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