Basketball

Granny Basketball National Tournament held at KU

Granny Basketball National Tournament Held at KU

On Saturday, more than 200 female basketball players over age 50 competed in the Granny Basketball National Tournament. The oldest player was 87.
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On Saturday, more than 200 female basketball players over age 50 competed in the Granny Basketball National Tournament. The oldest player was 87.

Who said sports are just for young people?

On Saturday, more than 200 female basketball players over age 50 descended upon the University of Kansas’s Ambler Student Recreation Center to compete in the Granny Basketball National Tournament. The eldest player was 87.

“I think granny basketball brings the youth out in us,” said Dee Bisel, co-chair of the tournament.

This year’s Granny Basketball tournament was the largest yet since the league was founded in 2005. Sixteen teams from Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Louisiana traveled to Lawrence to compete for the national title. Other local and regional tournaments are held throughout the league’s season, which runs from March-July.

The rules of granny basketball are slightly different from modern basketball. Teams play six-on-six; the court is divided into thirds for forwards, centers and guards.

Additional rules were added for safety.

“In granny basketball you cannot run,” Bisel said. “You only dribble twice. And,” she added with a humorous pout, “we can’t dunk.”

“People normally don’t cheer grannies,” joked Barb Trammell, who founded Granny Basketball in 2005, as she stepped off the court from her team’s third basketball game of the morning. “I mean you can bake cookies, but nobody really cheers. When you shoot a basket, everybody cheers!”

Every tournament, players agreed, is an opportunity for fun-spirited competition.

“We all think we’re 25, instead of ... whatever,” said Bisel. ”It’s so much fun to live the competitiveness.”

This year’s national tournament did not disappoint fans and spectators: In an exciting final, the Cedar Rapids Sizzlers defeated three-time national champions, the Harper’s Ferry Fireflies, in overtime.

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