For the first time since 2015, the Cedar Rapids Sizzlers took home the state championship trophy after defeating the Harpers Ferry Fireflies, 56-43, during the Granny Basketball state tournament held June 12-13 at Valley High School as part of the Iowa Senior Games. Twelve teams from eastern and central Iowa plus Kansas and Oklahoma participated in the first games for the Granny Basketball League since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
The Kansas Prairie Storm placed third in the first division. Meanwhile, Classic Chassis of central Iowa took first place in the second division, followed by the Oklahoma Twisters and the Cedar Rapids Late Bloomers.
Granny basketball leagues are open to women over 50, many of whom didn’t have girls’ sports at their schools. It follows 1920 rules that divide the court into three sections, limit running and bars jumping.
Sizzlers players come from around the Cedar Rapids area. Among them is Lola Reisner of Hiawatha, Virginia McFadden of Marion and Trish Spear of Toddville. The team practices weekly, except for summer, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids.
Missy Kilbey came from Hawaii to join the Sizzlers for the tournament and play in honor of her mother Lori Neblung, a longtime Sizzler who passed away in April 2020.
The league will return to action July 16-17 in Prairie du Chien, Wis., for the 2021 national tournament.