GIRLS BASKETBALL NOTHING NEW
AT COKATO HIGH SCHOOL

What do volleyball, basketball, golf, softball, and now hockey have in common? They are all sports available to high school girls across the state of Minnesota. Many of the girls sports at Dassel-Cokato, such as baskeball, have been available since the early 1970s. Yet, most people may not realize that there was a time lond since past when girls basketball was very active at Cokato High School.

The Cokato Enterprise reported on March 17, 1904, that "There will be a basket ball game between the girls team of Dassel and Cokato in the near future." The game was to be played at Stevenson's Hall in Cokato on Saturday, March 26. At that time, the school did not have a venue for basketball to be played. The Enterprise exhoted those planning to attend to "yell lustily" the school cheer: "Ching a lacka ching ching, Booma a lacka ba, Cokato High School, Rah, rah, rah."

Cokato's line-up included: Mathilda Love and Monica Kreinbring at forwards, Julia Larson and Agnes Swanson at guards, and Clara Osterberg at center. Cokato was victorious in this, their first game ever.

Although the newspape did not report the final score, it did report how much money was collected in ticket sales, noting that the money was to pay for both team's uniforms.

Girls basketball was played at Cokato High Shcool through the 1910s, 1920s, until 1933. At the time, due to the Great Depression, most schools, like Cokato, began to eliminate girls sports to save money.

The museum has a number of photos in the Akerlund Studio collection of CHS girls teams. The yearbooks of CHS provide a wealth of names and other information about these teams. Those interested in learning more about girls basketball at Cokato High School should contact the museum.

A version of this article first appeared in the Winter 1996 (V. 16, No. 1) edition of In The Midst Of, ©1996, Cokato Historical Society.

A new book (published October 2005) chronicles the story of girls high school basketball. Daughters of the Game: The First Era of Minnesota Girls High School Basketball, 1891 - 1942, profiles 148 girls teams from across the state. Cost is $29.95 plus tax per copy. For more information, contact: McJohn Publishing Company, PO Box 390043, Edina MN 55439-0043; e-mail: McJohn@mn.rr.com; phone: 952-200-4065.

A fantastic followup to this original story--which corrects some errors--can be found in the 2006 book, Why Did They Take That Game Away From Us: The Story of Cokato High School Girls' Basketball, 1903 - 1931. Written by Minneapolis resident, Dan Conrad, this book traces how the Cokato Girls' team was quite a force in local sports for nearly three decades, despite the many obstacles faced. Conrad's work is available at the museum an can be ordered through our Bookshop.