The 1975-76 Linton High School girls basketball team won the Clay City Sectional by avenging three losses during the regular season. This was the first season for a girls state tournament, as governed by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Jennie Moehlmann is third from the left standing in the back row.
With the recent passing of my high school classmate and friend Jennie Moehlmann I hoped to find a way to pay Jennie a fitting tribute.
The best I could come up with was this feature story written by B.J. Hargis on Linton’s first girls basketball sectional championship in 1976 - the year of the first official IHSAA girls basketball state tournament.
Jennie Moehlmann was a senior and the starting center on that team. Jennie was one of the pioneers of girls high school sports in the early days before girls sports became what they are today.
Girls sports at Linton started in the fall of 1973, my sophomore year.
As most of you know B.J. Hargis was a former sports editor of the Greene County Daily World and my former boss. B.J. has always possessed a keen sense of appreciation for history and a knack for research.
B.J.’s feature appeared in the July 21, 2011 edition of the Greene County Daily World. With his permission the story is reprinted here in remembrance of Jennie Moehlmann.
Rest peacefully, Jennie, and always know your friends will never forget you.
Ms. Miners claimed first girls title at Linton
Thursday, July 21, 2011
By B.J. Hargis, Sports Editor
When it comes to the history of girls basketball at Linton-Stockton High School, people usually talk about the sectional championship teams of 1983, 1986 and 2010. But few seem to remember the 1976 Ms. Miners squad -- as they were known then -- was the first girls athletic team at Linton to win a postseason tournament.
In the inaugural year of girls basketball state tournament, Linton won three games to capture the Clay City Sectional championship.
“I had played basketball my freshman and sophomore years, but ‘76 was the first year that we had our own state tournament, like the boys,” said junior starting guard Lisa Duckworth. “It was a pretty exciting time for all of us.”
Duckworth was joined on the roster by fellow juniors Jennifer Norrington, Cheryl Nemeth, Tammy White, Melody Moody, Tammy Orman, Kathy Bredeweg and Kim Reichman; seniors Kim Runnels, Jennie Moehlmann, Tina Cox and Kathy Ferree; and sophomore Charlotte Moore. Shirley Brinson was the head coach.
“I haven’t thought about that team in a long time,” said Runnels, who works as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. “When you think about where women’s basketball is today, it was really a momentous season, the first state tournament for girls in Indiana.
“It was pretty neat to be a part of the first group, especially since we won our sectional. I don’t think none of us realized at the time how momentous it was. Who would have known it would have grown into what it is today.”
They avenged regular season losses to Union (Dugger), Clay City and Shakamak to win the Clay City Sectional.
“We had split two games with Dugger and two games with Shakamak,” said Duckworth. “We had lost to Clay City by three points during the season and they were playing at home.
“We had beaten Dugger and Shakamak, but didn’t know if we could beat Clay City.”
They started out the sectional with a 32-27 victory over Dugger.
In the semifinals, Moehlmann hit for 11 points, Cox seven, Runnels six, Moore five, Moody and Reichman four apiece and Duckworth, Ferree and Orman each added two as the Ms. Miners knocked off Clay City 43-37.
Linton never trailed, leading 13-6 at the end of the first quarter and 21-12 at intermission.
“Kim and Jennie were probably our two best players,” said Duckworth. “Most of the time I just brought the ball down the floor and tried to get it inside.”
Shakamak had advanced to the championship game with a 29-27 victory over Sullivan as Ann Hudson led the Lady Lakers with nine points. Shannon Hudson scored eight, Kim Marlow seven, Cindy Pittman four and Patrice Clark added one free throw.
In their two previous meetings with Shakamak, the Lakers won 46-33 in the first one, but the Ms. Miners came up with a 39-33 victory over SHS just before the tournament started.
“In those days, girls from all the local teams played against each other during the summers at the park,” said Duckworth. “Kim Marlow was one of my best friends. It was not easy to play them in the championship game.”
Duckworth was not much of a scorer during that season, but saved her best for when it counted most.
She scored all six Linton points in the first quarter as Shakamak led 8-6.
Runnels scored to give the Miners a 10-8 advantage, their first after trailing 4-0 to start the game.
A basket by Ann Hudson tied the game at 10-all.
Linton had a narrow 18-17 advantage at the half.
A basket by Cox and a foul shot by Moehlmann gave the Lady Miners a 24-21 edge after three quarters.
The Lady Miners pushed the lead to 32-27 in the fourth quarter, but Shakamak scored four straight points, making it 32-31 in the final minute.
Duckworth scored the final basket -- a 20-footer with 42 seconds remaining -- as the Ms. Miners held on for the three-point victory.
She finished with a career-high 14 points on seven field goals to pace the winners. Reichman scored six, Runnels and Moehlmann both had five, Cox and Moore each scored two and Moody went scoreless.
Ann Hudson led the Lakers with a game-high 16 points. Marlow scored six.
“I guess I picked the best time to play the game of my life,” said Duckworth. “According to the paper, I hit a 20-foot shot. But I was more of a playmaker than a scorer. We were a halfcourt team that tried to get the ball inside. There was no 3-point line then, so it made sense to get the ball as close to the basket as you could. Moehlmann started at center and Runnels started at forward.
“I was happy for our team, but sad that Kim and her team had lost. We were friends that were on opposite sides that night. I hated it that one of us had to lose.”
Runnels said it was exciting to win the sectional, especially as a senior, and go to the regional.
“We were not quick and there was no 3-point shot then,” she said. “We mostly played man defense and we would press some.
“The girls would not shoot outside of the key area. That was just something most of the girls wouldn’t do. We were slow and deliberate. Our skills are not comparable to the girls teams of today.”
At the Washington Regional a week later, Bedford North Lawrence defeated Linton 49-23.
“We were not used to playing a gym as big as Washington,” said Duckworth. “Most of the gyms we played in were very small compared to Washington.”
This ended any thoughts of a potential match-up with Bloomfield, who defeated Washington 46-31 before taking out BNL 55-38 to win the first of back-to-back regionals.
“They had decided to split up the county teams and send Bloomfield to the Switz City Sectional and sent us to the one at Clay City,” said Duckworth. “After we won the sectional, we thought it would have been neat to have had two teams from Greene County in the regional final.
“But it did not work out that way. Bedford was a good team that handled us pretty easily.”
Runnels did say they were kind of slow and deliberate team, but that Bloomfield, who scored 76 or more points four times during that regular season including 96 against North Knox, was spectacular then and would still be a good team today.
“Our team really didn’t compare with Bloomfield,” said Runnels. “We were definitely fortunate we did not have to play them in the sectional because we wouldn’t have beaten them.
“But we just played the teams at our sectional and got the job done.”
After the loss to BNL, the Miners got on the Bloomfield bandwagon, watching the Lady Cardinals throughout their tournament run.
“We knew the Miles twins (Melissa and Melinda) and all of the Bloomfield girls,” said Duckworth. “We played against them during the summer at the park. We were all friends and we were rooting for them to win it all.
“Warsaw, featuring little Judy Warren, beat Bloomfield in the final game.”
Duckworth said she still has the ticket stub to the Final Four at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“That was my first time at Hinkle,” she said. “Now that place was something else.
“The most amazing thing is that you could get a ticket for all three games for $3.50.”
Runnels, who also played volleyball and softball at Linton, said that she loves basketball and has never gotten it out of her blood.
“I have season tickets to the Indiana Fever,” she said. “My daughter Alexa loves going to basketball games and loves the sport too.
“Ideally, I could have played in college, but decided to lean more on academics and went to Indiana State. But I had a great experience in high school and that is one of the reasons that I still follow the game.”
Basketball at Linton started with humble beginnings.
“I remember having to go out and sell products to raise money to buy our uniforms,” said Duckworth. “For some reason, I remember selling Lambchops shampoo, and thinking ‘why would anybody buy a shampoo named Lambchops.’
“The same tops were used in volleyball, basketball and softball. I think eventually softball got their own shirts. It was tough in the beginning.”
She added that she remembers going to an outside basketball camp at Angola with Runnels, who wore No. 4 in honor of Switz City (Central) sharpshooter Rusty Miller.
“We came back good and tanned,” Duckworth said. “IU coach Branch McCracken’s son Dave worked at the camp.”
Hardware from that first girls sectional championship is in the Miner trophy case, but unlike almost every boys or girls sectional title team at Linton, a photo and information of that 8-8 squad is nowhere to be found on the Miner Wall of Fame, in the foyer outside the gymnasium.
“It seems like everybody forgets about that 1976 team,” said Duckworth. “We were the ones that started it all and most people don’t seem to know about or want to try to remember us.
“But no matter, that is something we will have with us the rest of our lives. That is inside of us and something that nobody can take away.”
Linton Ms. Miners
Girls Basketball Team
No. Name Cl.
32 Lisa Duckworth Jr.
30 Tina Cox Sr.
25 Jennifer Norrington Jr.
3 Cheryl Nemeth Jr.
33 Tammy White Jr.
21 Melody Moody Jr.
23 Tammy Orman Jr.
34 Jennie Moehlmann Sr.
20 Kathy Bredeweg Jr.
4 Kim Runnels Sr.
22 Kim Reichman Jr.
31 Kathy Ferree Sr.
5 Charlotte Moore So.
Coach: Shirley Brinson.
Linton Ms. Miners
Linton 53, Sullivan 38
Linton 26, Union (Dugger) 25
Central (Switz City) 42, Linton 40
L & M 53, Linton 26
Eastern 46, Linton 42
Linton 37, Sullivan 34
West Vigo 41, Linton 40
Clay City 40, Linton 37
Shakamak 46, Linton 33
Linton 41, Worthington 31
Union (Dugger) 27, Linton 26
Linton 39, Shakamak 33
*Linton 32, Union (Dugger) 27
*Linton 43, Clay City 37
*Linton 34, Shakamak 31
#Bedford North Lawrence 49, Linton 23
*At Clay City Sectional
#At Washington Regional
Terry Schwinghammer is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, ext. 27. He can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.