Each March, my husband and I end up watching at least some of the men's college basketball tournament. My husband played basketball for his high school in Georgetown, Ohio so he is into it much more than I am, but even I get excited if a game is close or there is the threat of an upset. Our Gamecocks didn't make it to the "dance" this year so we crossed our fingers for the colleges in our state, even Clemson, and those from Ohio. As of today, Xavier is still in the running!
Back in the 1920's and 30's, there was no March Madness, but there was basketball! The sport, invented for men at a YMCA in 1891 became an option for women at Smith College in 1892. Ripley High School introduced basketball for girls in 1917. According to the school's 1926 yearbook, The Ripple, the sport promoted good character training and taught good sportsmanship. At least three of my female ancestors took advantage of the opportunity to play basketball at Ripley High School. In case you are wondering, they did not pass that gene on to me!
My grandfather's sisters, Elizabeth and Henrietta Haitz, must have been very talented players. The 1926 yearbook praises senior Elizabeth's "splendid work" while the next year's yearbook, heralds Henrietta's freshman debut as a guard as "none better, unless it was her own sister, Elizabeth". By 1930 when Henrietta was a senior in high school, her sister Emma, must have played on the team as well. The description of the girl's basketball team in that year's yearbook describes "Henry" Haitz as bringing "heart thrills and surprises by the wonderful guarding that she did" from the first game against Hamersville to the last with Sardinia. It goes on to say that she and her sister held Sardinia down to three field goals in the last game of the season and that the saying "where there's a basketball there's a Haitz" holds true. I do not own any of the later yearbooks, but I imagine they too go on to praise Emma as a talented basketball player.
The following pictures were taken from the 1927 and 1930 yearbooks. In the first one, Elizabeth is the second young girl from the left, not counting the woman who must have been the coach. Henrietta is not in the picture. The second photograph shows Henrietta in the middle of the front row. She is holding the basketball. I am not absolutely sure, but Emma is possibly the first girl to the far left on the front row.