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Submitted Photo

Playing for the Louisburg Tonics Granny Basketball Team are (on floor) Jean Carder; (second row, from left) Ellen Morland, Kathleen Caverty, Ruth Fladung, Janet York, Susan McKeever, Helen McClain, LaVonne Mize; (back row) Becky Bowes, Jan Berg, Becky Berg, Julie McKinley, Lisa Berg and Wanda Harlow.

LOUISBURG — The Louisburg Tonics Granny Basketball team competed in the national tournament in Lawrence over the weekend.

A record-setting field of 16-teams, featuring 200 women age 50 to 87, competed in the 2019 National Granny Basketball Tournament in Lawrence, a historic basketball town, on Saturday, July 20.

The six-on-six competition, based on 1920s-style rules, was held at the Ambler Student Recreation Center on the campus of the University of Kansas.

“This is the largest event in the history of Granny Basketball, and we are proud to host it in Lawrence,” said Dee Bisel, local co-chair of the national tournament committee and player for the Lawrence-based Grey Tornadoes. “Sixteen teams and 200 players competed on four courts at this beautiful facility. We are excited for the players, family members and fans who were part of this special experience.”

The Louisburg Tonics competed in the national tournament, but were in the event to share in the love of the game in its original state.

“The Louisburg Tonics always have fun playing Granny Basketball and are looking forward to playing in the national tourney against teams from other states,” said team captain Jean Carder before the tournament. “We probably do more laughing than playing basketball though.”

The Harpers Ferry Fireflies was one of the teams to watch. The three-time national champions are from a small town in northern Iowa.

The national tournament featured teams from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and across the country.

Granny Basketball is a fun-filled activity that encourages women age 50 and over to stay fit and active in a non-traditional, social environment. The league provides wholesome, nostalgic and sometimes humorous entertainment, as well as an outlet for charitable fundraising.

Players dress in 1920s-inspired uniforms — black bloomers, middy blouses and sailor-style collars displaying each player’s number.

The old-style, six-on-six rules call for the court to be divided into three sections, one each for forwards, centers and guards. Players can have up to two dribbles per possession. Running is not allowed, but ‘hurrying’ is. With an emphasis on safety, players are not allowed to jump or have physical contact. Also, only three fouls are allowed. The modified league rules also award three points for underhanded “granny shots.”

The 16 teams were organized into four pools, where each team will play three games. The final four teams, the top team from each pool, will advance to the semi-finals and championship games.

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the local Visiting Nurses Association.

The Granny Basketball League is a non-profit Iowa-based organization founded in 2005. Currently, 37 Granny Basketball teams are active in nine states: Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Members of the Louisburg Tonics are Becky Berg, Louisburg; Lisa Berg, Olathe; Jean Carder, Louisburg, Kathleen Caverty, Louisburg; Ruth Fladung, Louisburg; Wanda Harlow, Bucyrus; Helen McClain, Louisburg; Julie McKinley, Linn Valley; LaVonne Mize, Louisburg; Diana Moore, Louisburg; Ellen Morland, Louisburg; Janet York, Louisburg; and coach Kate Berg Camp, Gardner.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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