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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Basic Biittner: Down memory lane, with no "three-second" call

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The 2006 Northwest Stars, owners of a one-game winning streak (l to r) Front row: Sonny Miller and Marcia Winterhof . Second row: Terri Frank, Judy Perrin, Ann Sybesma, Nicole Newburg, Kathy Tondreau. Third Row: Amy Hupke, Steve Blair, Michelle Reinhardt, Roxanne Schmillen, Shawna Paskert, Cheryl Dreckman (leaning forward), Jeanne Stoltz, Judy Hardersen (leaning forward), Connie Kraai, Jeanette Olsen, Colleen Frank (44), Doug Woods, Larry Johnson. Photo by Janet Whitney
The Northwest All-Stars, whose team included four former Cherokee players, three former Marcus Eagles, and one Aurelia Atom, defeated the Metro All-Stars, 60-54, in a wonderful, "throw-back" six-on-six basketball game on Saturday night December 16, 2006.

The game, played at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, preceded the championship game of the fourth annual Sacajawea Invitational High School Tournament, and, in this columnist's opinion, proved that the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union made a serious mistake thirteen years ago, when they abandoned Iowa' s unique six-on-six, half - court brand of basketball in favor of the 5-on-5 full court game that everybody else was playing.

Saturday night's game gave several former 6-on-6 stars a chance to show their stuff, and "the old ladies" looked pretty darn good. The Northwest team took the lead from the start , and hung onto it against a team of trash-talking former Sioux City six-on-six players, whose roster included former Iowa Cornet professional player Mary Schrade and Morningside stars Sue Jones and Amy Wilhelm. Tournament Director John Adams also brought in a "ringer" - Denise Long, the former Union-Whitten star , who once scored more than 100 points in a single game, and averaged more than 60 per game as a senior. Long said she accepted the invitation primarily to see Jeanette Olsen, the former Everly star who scored 76 points against Long's team in the memorable 1968 state tournament game, won by Union-Whitten, 113-107. Long herself "only" scored 64 that night, and her cousin, Cindy Long, was the third-leading scorer in the game with 46 points!

A lot of points and memories Jeanette Olsen and Cindy (41) and Denise (23) Long, who scored an amazing 186 points among them in one game at the 1968 State Tournament, share memories at a surprise meeting Saturday. Photo by Dan Whitney.
Olsen was an honorary co-captain of the Northwest squad, and Adams not only brought in Denise Long to play for the Metro team, he brought in Cindy Long as well. Olsen did not actually play in Saturday's game, but the other honorary captain, former Holstein All-Stater Connie Kraai, did play a little, and the 1965 graduate looked pretty good, even executing a dandy over-the-head backwards pass to Marcus' Cheryl Dreckman for a baseline lay-up.

Other former Marcus players who joined former Briar Cliff star Dreckman for the game were Roxanne Schmillen and Terri Frank. Aurelia's Marcia Winterhof scored eight points for the Northwest Stars, and was joined at times in the forward court by Cherokee's Colleen Frank, who played against Winterhof in 1978 tournament action.

Judy Perrin, a guard on that same Washington High team, was also a member of the Northwest Stars, as were two "kids" in the group, guard Amy Hupke, a 1987 Washington grad, and 1990 grad Michelle Reinhardt. Cherokee Washington was also represented by two of the three Northwest Stars' coaches. Doug Woods, who coached here from 1974-77, and Steve Blair, who succeeded Woods, and coached both the six and five-girl games at Cherokee., served as team coaches Saturday , along with former Everly coach (and current LeMars Principal) Larry Johnson.

Tournament director Adams served as the pre-game Master of Ceremonies and, in addition to leading the crowd in the "Happy Birthday" song to 102-year-old Dwight Hauff (A word to Adams: Don't quit your day job), introduced the large crowd to Connie Kraai, who now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia , and her brother Bob, about whom Adams exclaimed, "You look just like your dad," referring to long-time Holstein coach Russ Kraai.

A color-blind coach Bob Kraai and Connie Kraai Smith, children of the late Holstein coach Russ Kraai, smile as members of the 1955 team show the jerseys the coach mistakenly ordered for them to wear at the State Tournament. Holding the jersey is Nancy Martin, a member of that team and wife of retired Cherokee physician Robert Martin. Photo by Dan Whitney.
There was one more surprise "Holstein memory" during the pre-game, when Adams relayed the story of Russ Kraai ordering special uniforms from Dwight Hauff Sporting Goods for the Lady Pirates' first trip to the State Tournament. It seems that Russ was color-blind, and he inadvertently ordered PINK (cerise, actually) jerseys for his team to wear when they made their first-ever State Tournsment appearance in 1951, rather than the school color orange.

Three of the players from the 1955 Holstein team, including Cherokean Nancy Martin, presented framed cerise jerseys to the Iowa Hall of Pride. The Hall of Pride will display them for a brief time, then return them to the Galva-Holstein school , to be displayed as part of their tribute to the late Coach Kraai.

The Marcus Connection Cheryl Dreckman (with ball) moves toward the basket , while fellow former Marcus Eagle Roxanne Schmillen establishes position for a rebound. Photo by Dan Whitney.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner