An Overview (through 1960) of Rolfe, Iowa, Girls’ Basketball


This post is a part of the lead-up to a celebration of the 1971 Rolfe girls’ basketball team’s (and community’s) road to the 1971 state tournament. The agenda for that celebration (on April 16th, 2011) and also a listing of prior posts related to the celebration are included on this blog.

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In a previous post is a photo of a Rolfe girls’ basketball team from 1908-09. I assume that team was associated with the then Independent School District of Rolfe.

According to Centennial History, Rolfe, Iowa, 1863-1963, “Rolfe High School offered girls’ basketball from 1910 until 1920, the 1912 team being undefeated. The sport resumed in 1959.” (Photos of the 1959-60 team are below.)


The first public school in Rolfe was established in December, 1881.

In January, 1884 the Independent School District of Rolfe was established. In 1908 or 1910 (depending on if you go by the 1908 photo or the Centennial History) through 1920, the Independent School District of Rolfe had a girls’ basketball team.

The Independent School District of Rolfe was dissolved in 1947 when the Rolfe Consolidated School came into being.

The sport of girls’ basketball resumed in Rolfe in the fall of 1959 while the name of the school district was still Rolfe Consolidated School.


In the middle of the 1958-1959 school year (the year before girls’ basketball resumed in Rolfe), movement began toward the reorganization merger of the Des Moines Township (DMT) and Rolfe districts.

In January 1959 action was initiated to effect a reorganization merger of the Des Moines Township Consolidated School and the Rolfe Consolidated School; threatened court action held up the reorganization so that it did not go into effect until July 1, 1960.

When the DMT and Rolfe boards met in January of 1959, they made a specific recommendation regarding girls’ basketball. The January 22, 1959,¬†Rolfe Arrow says, “It has been agreed by the joint boards [DMT board and Rolfe board]: to recommend to the board elect that girls basketball be included in the girls physical education program. Also that a schedule of interscholastic games be played.”

According to the Centennial History, the Des Moines Township Consolidated School District “tuitioned its high school students to the Rolfe Consolidated School during the [following] 1959-1960 school year but continued to operate as a kindergarten through grade eight unit.”

In the recent years before this tuitioning of DMT students, Rolfe did not have a girls’ basketball team; however, DM did.

It must have made sense, since DMT already had a girls’ basketball team and was going to tuition high school students to Rolfe for at least one year, that the Rolfe district once again adopt girls’ basketball. (Wouldn’t it have been kind of awkward not to do so, especially since the DMT team had been winning games?) For that one year (1959-1960), the Rolfe girls and the DMT girls, still from two different operational districts, were teammates on one Rolfe Consolidated School interscholastic basketball team.

Pictured is the Rolfe Consolidated School 1959-60 Girls' Basketball First Team, comprised of girls from the D.M.T. and Rolfe districts. L to R: Nancy Bennett - Manager (Sr), Marie Turley (Jr), Rose McIntire (Jr), Judy Helmke (So), Sandra Ives (So), Helen Gunderson (Fr), Georgia Ryen (So), Linda Hughes (Jr), Shirley Bennett (Fr), Mary Jane Truelson (So), Betty Jo Marine (So), Gwen Heathman (So), Carol Jean Bennett (So), Coach Wayne Brown. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

In 1960 the reorganized district (i.e., the DMT district merged with the Rolfe Consolidated School) was named Rolfe Community School District. The 1960-1961 school year was the first year of the reorganized district comprised of Rolfe and former DMT students; it was the first year the just-formed Rolfe Community School District had its own (no longer technically shared by two districts) girls’ basketball team.

The Rolfe Consolidated School 1959-60 Girls' Basketball Second Team. L to R: Pam Jordan (Sr), Judy Truelson (So), Judy Jordan (Jr), Karen Dailey (So), Nancy Bennett (Sr), Gloria Bennett (So), Diane Callon (Fr), Darlene Nielson (sp?) (Fr), Joann Bennett (Fr), Linda Leadley (Fr), Coach Wayne Brown. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The Rolfe Community School District continued to have its own girls’ basketball team through the 1986-1987 school year. During the next two years (’87-’88 and ’88-’89) Rolfe shared girls’ basketball with the Gilmore City-Bradgate District. During those two years the teams were known as the River Valley Rebels. In 1989-1990, the year of Rolfe’s last graduating class, students from Rolfe shared sports, including girls’ basketball, with Pocahontas students.

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Centennial History, Rolfe, Iowa, 1863-1963, p. 36+

“Items Discussed in Re Proposed School Merger.” Rolfe Arrow 22 Jan. 1959.

The two photos and the players’ names (but not the players’ year in school) were taken from a 1959-60 Rolfe yearbook.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


One Response to “An Overview (through 1960) of Rolfe, Iowa, Girls’ Basketball”

  1. Marti Gunderson Carlson Says:

    Enjoyed reading this and seeing the photos. Thanks for taking the time to put this all togeter and posting.

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