Six-on-Six basketball: The 25 best six-on-six players in the area

The Greatest Generation

By BRANDON HURLEY

Sports Editor 

sports@beeherald.com

@BrandonJHurley

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It may have been a daunting task, but we felt it was important to establish this list, especially with the deep history of six-on-six basketball in the Herald Publishing coverage area. 

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the final season of six-on-six basketball in the state of Iowa, a sport that captivated people throughout the country but was abandoned following the 1992-93 season. 

Through extensive hours of research and interviews throughout the past few years, we, as a sports department, have settled on a list of the Herald Publishing’s 25 greatest six-on-six players of all-time. The six-on-six basketball era ran from 1921-1993 in at the Iowa High School level, 72 years of pure bliss, excitement, attention, sold out crowds and long-standing records. 

This may not be every reader’s ideal list, and we may have even left some greats out, but it’s designed to recognize some of our most famous female – frankly most famous humans – in Iowa athletic history, many of whom grew up right here in our area. 

The rich statistical history is quite mind-boggling. 

Jefferson-Scranton’s Kristi Kinne (1991), Guthrie Center’s Karen McCool (1963) and East Greene’s Pam Slock (1961) were the only girls to lead the entire state in scoring in a single year from 1949 to 1993, each putting up more than 50 points per game in doing so. 

The winter of 1968-1969 may have produced the most statistically great year, as the area witnessed a pair of 50-point scorers, but even that wasn’t enough for top billing. Though Guthrie-Center’s Debbie Merritt (57.9ppg, 10th all-time) and Donna Fenske of Audubon (52.9 ppg) each put up the single-greatest scoring season’s in their school’s respective history, neither could surpass Union-Whitten legend Denise Long, who put up the greatest offensive season in state history, averaging a staggering 68.5 points per game. 

Her total capped a historic career, which put her at 6,250 points, a state record until Ventura legend Lynne Lorenzen set the national scoring record of  6,736 points in 1987. 

The Herald Publishing area, which stretches east to Grand Junction and Rippey, north to Churdan and Sac City, west through Carroll to Westside and south to Guthrie Center and Panora, has produced a handful of state champions, 3,000-point scorers and more than a dozen Hall-of-Famers. 

Without further adieu, here is the top 25 list of greatest six-on-six players:

 

1. Kristi Kinne, Jefferson-Scranton (1987-91)

The most prolific scorer in Herald Publishing history led little-known Jefferson-Scranton to its only two state tournament appearances, in 1988 (as a freshman) and 1991 during her senior year. Kinne, who went on to star at Drake University and became the Missouri Valley MVP, led the state in scoring in 1991 at 52.2 points per game and finished with 3,406 career points. She averaged a cool 54 points in two state tournament games and was an instrumental key in the 1988 run as a freshman. Her patented crossover dribble became well-known throughout the state. 

2. Karen McCool, Guthrie Center, (1959-63)

If you are known for an unguardable shot, you definitely make the list, and you’ll rank high. Guthrie Center’s Karen McCool led the “Big G” to their second-ever state title in 1963, using her patented hook shot, which she brought down to her hip and flipped over her head, often not even looking at the basket. She could score in a variety of ways, amassing 3,190 career points. McCool led the state in scoring at 44.7 points per game in 1963 and was tops in the state tourney at 46 points per game. She was two-time, first-team all state honoree, and perhaps will be forever remembered for her game-winning shot in the 1963 semifinals. 

3. Jean Rostermundt, Manilla, (1972-76)

What a decorated career Manilla’s Jean Rostermundt produced. The future New Mexico Lobo all-time leading scorer led Manila to its only state championship in 1974 as a sophomore and finished her career with 3,021 points. She captured three consecutive state tournament trips, using her smooth ball-handling to slice through the lane. She was picked as the 1976 Omaha World Herald’s female athlete of the year following Manilla’s second place finish, as the squad ripped off a 30-game win-streak entering the title game. In the final two games in 1974, Rostermundt averaged 52.5 points per game, scoring 51 points in the championship game. 

4. Tricia Waugh, Jefferson-Scranton (1984-88)

Jefferson-Scranton’s Trisha Waugh was a six-on-six all-star, shooting 70 percent for her career while scoring 2,880 points, leading the Rams to their first-ever state tournament in 1988, where they finished third. Waugh led the tournament field with a 36.5 points per game average. Her sparkling senior year earned her All-American honors and snagged her a scholarship to the University of Iowa, playing for C. Vivian Stringer. 

5. Debbie Merritt, Guthrie Center (1965-1969)

Merritt’s staggering 57.9 points per game average (which is the 15th best single-season mark of all time and the highest average of any player in the Herald Publishing area) guided the Tigerettes to the 1969 state tournament, where she faced off against Union-Whitten legend Denise Long and her 68.5 ppg average. It was a classic battle that totaled 173 points as the defending champs of Union-Whitten prevailed, 90-83. Merritt matched Long shot-for-shot, tallying 63 points giving her a two-game tournament average of 68.5. The senior set the school single-game record of 74 in the opening round game, a win over Ruthven. 

6. Pam Slock, East Greene (1957-61) 

One of the greatest pure shooters in state history came from little known East Greene High School in the early 60s. She developed her own signature move, ushering in the jump shot with her two-handed, behind the head ‘Slock Shot.’ Though the Hawks did not make the state tournament, Slock’s 51 points per game average led the state in 1961 and powered East Greene to a perfect regular season, one game from Des Moines. She’ll forever be remembered for one of the purest jump shots, notoriously drilling 15-foot jumpers, never once shooting less than 40 percent in a single game her senior year. 

No.s 7-9 (The Audubon dynasty)

The 1920s ushered in the era of six-on-six girls basketball and Audubon was at the forefront. The Wheelers captured four straight titles and produced three Hall-of-Famers in doing so, starting with Dorcas Anderson (1921) who was a member of the second-ever state title team. Her legacy was carried on by Clarice Clemmensen and Helen McLeran, who were both inducted into the IGSHAU Hall of Fame a few years later. Anderson led the state tourney in scoring in 1921 with 89 points. 

No. 10-14 (Lake View-Auburn legends)

10. Jolene Blass, Lake View-Auburn 

11. Kay Pick, Lake View-Auburn 

12. Gloria Olberding

13. JoAnn Tjaden

14. Sara Wernimont

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Legendary coach Louis “Bud” McCrea and his players would’ve wanted it this way. While Jolene Blass and Kay Pick were the only two players from the back-to-back championship team of 1975-76 inducted into the IGHSAU Hall of Fame, it was the teamwork that really set them apart. No star stood out, their balance was the winning formula. Team defense and a “share-the-wealth” mentality sparked one of the greatest runs in state history. 

From 1975-79, Gloria (Olberding) Jones and JoAnn (Tjaden) along with several other girls including Sara Wernimont and Micki Olberding, led the Hawkettes to a 119-7 record, two titles, a third place finish and a runner-up honor. The duo of Olberding and Tjaden are tied with two other players for the most state tournament games in history, at 16. 

15. Donna Fenske, Audubon (1965-69)

Donna Fenske led the tradition-rich Audubon team back to the state tournament in 1969 after a lengthy hiatus, a 36-year absence. 

She scored the most points in a district game in state history (82) in a win over Irwin and led the Wheelers to a sparkling 22-1 regular season record. Fenske was third in the state in scoring at 52.9 points per game in 1969 as the Wheelers averaged a staggering 84 points per game, reaching as high as No. 5 in the state. Fenske finished her four-year career with 3,098 points. 

16. Judy Merritt, Guthrie Center (1968-72)

Judy Merrit was named the 1972 “Queen” of the tournament, guiding the Tigerettes to a second place finish. She was named first team all-state thanks to her 41 points per game average while playing a key role in Guthrie Center’s triple overtime win against Mediapolis in the state semifinals. 

17. Linda Lory, Rockwell City (1958-61)

Linda Lory led Rockwell City to its fist state tournament in school history during the 1959 season, where RC won two games before losing in the semifinals and in the consolation final. Lory scored 3,267 career points and was named to the all-state team three straight years. 

18. Mary Jo McClintock, Lake City, (1963-66)

McClintock sparked the Eagles on a Cinderella run to the 1966 state championship, upsetting a pair of top five ranked teams, which earned herself the honor of all-tournament team captain. She helped Lake City secure back-to-back state tournament trips, including its first-ever state berth in 1965. The Eagles finished the 1966 campaign 26-3, capping a two year run in which Lake City went 46-6.

19. Helen “Tuffy” Parker, Coon Rapids (1934-38)

Helen Parker led Coon Rapids to their first-ever state tournament in 1938 and a 23-2 record. She was named the tournament “Queen” and helped the Crusaders stifle Fonda, 49-7 in the opening round. 

20. Cathy Proctor, Jefferson-Scranton (1985-89)

Cathy Proctor was a menace on the glass and produced the most single game rebounds in state tournament history (18) and tallied the most rebounds in a tourney (54). The future Kentucky Wildcat hauled in 596 career rebounds and even made the transition to forward her senior year, where she averaged 32.9 ppg game and 13.5 reb per game in the Rams’ first state tournament trip. 

21. Stacie Segebart, Ar-We-Va (1988-92)

Stacie Segebart ushered in the three-point shooting era in the early 90s, leading the Rockets to their first-ever state tournament in 1991. The then junior led the tourney in scoring at nearly 40 points per game, drilling 70 percent of her shots (35-of-50) and 44 percent of her three-pointers (15-34), helping Ar-We-Va place third overall. The Rockets went 49-4 over her final two years, as Segebart tallied a school-record 2,572 points and broke the single-game record with 74 points. She also averaged 9.3 assists per game in her senior year.  

22. Vicki Weant, Paton-Churdan (1963-67) 

Vicki (Weant) Lautner led Paton-Churdan to a perfect 27-0 regular season as the Rockets reached as high as No. 2 in the state. She averaged 37.8 points per game while P-C won a first round game in their first state trip in school history, before being bounced by South Hamilton.

23. Diane Miller, Paton-Churdan (1975-79)

Diane Miller broke the single game Paton-Churdan school record in 1977 with 65 points. She averaged 48.6 points per game during her junior year in 1978 and led the Rockets to a 19-4 regular season record and a share of the Central Valley Conference title in 1979. She was later named third team all state. Miller finished out her career a member of the prestigious 3,000-point club, scoring 3,085 in four years. 

24. Shelley Soe, Manilla (1972-76)

Shelley Soe was an all-state guard, known for her defensive prowess. She helped guide Manilla to their only state title in 1974 as a sophomore and was a member of three-straight tourney teams, including a runner-up finish in 1976 as a senior. 

She’s now a member of the IGHSAU Hall of Fame. 

25. Shannon Kindred, Panora-Linden (1984-88)

Kindred was one of the purest shooters in state history. She tallied a 78.5 shooting percentage in 1988, which is the third-best field goal percentage ever. Kindred led Panora-Linden to the 1986 state tournament and helped compile a 67-6 record over her final three years. She led Panora-Linden to a No.. 1 ranking and an undefeated regular season in 1988, before losing to undefeated Exira-EHK in the regional semifinals. 

Honorable mentions:

• Paty Williams, Coon Rapids (1942-46)

• Ordella Rodenbaugh, Guthrie Center (1933-37)

This duo led their respective schools to their first-ever state titles, earning them each a spot in the IGHSAU Hall of Fame. 

• Pam Streeter, Lake City (1962-66)

Led the school to its first-ever state tournament in 1965, scoring 50 points in the district final win over Laurens, helping the Eagles score 55 second half points. 

• Donna Youngblood, P-C (1964-68)

Youngblood averaged 15.6 rebounds per game as the Rockets returned to the state tourney for the second straight year in 1968. 

• Cheryl Moore, Coon Rapids (1968-72)

Moore averaged 36.4 points per game as a freshman, one of the highest-ever rookie marks in the state, but fell just short of the prestigious state tournament.

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