Great Moments, Girls Basketball:
2003 – Basketball: “The Big Barn”:
“The Old Barn,” which is what the Nebraska Coliseum was affectionately known to high school basketball fans, played host to the state tournament from 1926-76.
In the Twenties, practically any team with a way to get to Lincoln came to play in the state tournament. In the Coliseum’s first year, 339 teams were on hand and were divided into 22 classes (A to V). It was the biggest field ever. Games were played from early in the morning until close to midnight, using other venues in Lincoln for the early rounds as well.
They broke up the Coliseum floors in ’26 so seven games went on at the same time. For several years, four courts were in use –two on the main floor (one went crossways), separated by curtains), one on the stage and a fourth in the basement (eventually became a swimming pool).
By 1961, only the larger main floor was used.
Meanwhile, attendance greatly increased so the Coliseum practically every year had a semifinal or championship game (or both) that resulted in full houses and spectators locked out.
With all 1976 state finals in the then new Bob Devaney Sports Center, the Coliseum was an early round host its final year, with the Class C semifinal in 1976 the last high school game played there (Walthill 56-54 over Howells before a crowd of 3,421 and Brian Blum of Howells scored the last basket).
- 2000: “Nothing But Net”:
Karen Moore’s 1982 field goal, from 73 feet, at Pershing Auditorium. This shot ended Lincoln Northeast’s championship game against Kearney. It was the longest basket made in the history of the girls state tournament. However, it was only good for two points because it was made before the inception of the three-point rule. Northeast lost by one point.
- 1998: “Girls Basketball’s Biggest Shot”:
Girls Basketball had its greatest finals crowd at the 1996 Class B state tournament, had one of its finest finals games ever regardless of class and perhaps was headed for one of the sport’s greatest upsets, as Lincoln Pius X led favored South Sioux City into the final seconds. Alas, what the sport got was its most dramatic state tournament finish, via a last-second three-point goal by South Souix City’s Kim Sublet that won the championship game by one point, 67-66.
- 1996: “Point Champion”:
Darcy Stracke of Chambers reaches a record 2752 career points in girls basketball.