Viroqua grannies have game on basketball court

More than 400 women play nationwide in the Granny Basketball League

VIROQUA, Wis. (WKBT) – A Viroqua basketball team is making quite a name for itself – but not because of its record. The Driftless Dribblers have won only a handful of games, but the team’s other stats are far more impressive.

In a game driven by numbers, the scoreboard has nothing on the hardwood warriors who make the shots.

“Whoa, they can really go! So it’s not a rocking-chair world, “says Viroqua player Debra Stafslien.

More than 400 women nationwide play in the Granny Basketball League.

“Some of them do things you wouldn’t believe they can do, “says Harpers Ferry Coach Bill Nation.

Players must be at least 50, but the older, the better.

I didn’t get started until I was 65. I’m not ready to quit yet, ”says Harpers Ferry player Georgia Jones. “Some of them are in their eighties, eighty-five, ”says Stafslein.

The uniforms and rules are also old school.

“1920 girls rules in Iowa. Y.ou’re not supposed to be running. You’re not supposed to be jumping, “says Viroqua player Pat Peterson.

There is no physical contact, and players must pass the ball down the court. Offense is key. So is staying on your feet.

“Balance at our age isn’t as good. People just fall, ”says Viroqua Coach Kim Littel.

When players do fall, they don’t stay down for long.

“Now, with knee replacements, you’re good to go. It’s like putting a new tire on a car, ”says Stafslien.

These grannies have game, but they’re serious, too.

“This is a game. It’s for real, ”says Peterson.

The league has been around since 2005. The Viroqua Driftless Dribblers have been playing for less than three years. Most teams are in Iowa, including the current national champions – the Harpers Ferry Fireflies.

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