In 1927 Bluffton HS athlete Olive Locher
set a record never to be touched
We’re putting it mildly to say Bluffton High School girls’ basketball teams experienced several excellent seasons in the 1920s and 1930s.
With several talented players, Bluffton HS girls’ teams won Allen County Class B tournament titles nine times from 1924 to 1934. These teams played under different rules than today, including competition on a half-court instead of a full-court.
One for the players, Olive Locher, actually holds a girls’ scoring record that stay in the books forever.
According to a 1927 Bluffton News story the Bluffton High School girls’ team won the Allen County Class B competition in Lima after defeating the Spencerville team 68 to 5.
Key player was Olive Locher who scored 58 of the points. The article continued that Locher ranked third in the state as best girl forward.
We have yet to discover what system was used for this ranking, but without a doubt, Locher was an exceptional player.
However, the 1934-35 school year was catastrophic for girls’ athletics in Bluffton and all of Ohio.
Girls' competitive sports ended in 1934-35
The state mandated that high schools must end girls’ athletic competition between schools. A story published in the October 1934 Bluffton News was short and to the point.
It stated: “Girls’ basketball will be discontinued as an inter-scholarship sport at Bluffton High School this year, athletic officials announced. Bluffton girls will organize intramural and class teams but will meet no outfits from other schools during the season.”
Intramural and class team competition continued, but organized girls’ athletics did not return for 38 school years, until the 1972-73 season.
Because of this mandate, many chapters of girls’ athletics at BHS went unwritten. This was especially disappointing for Bluffton as its county tournament winning string was never matched.
The 1933-34 team included five returning letter winners. According to the yearbook BHS had “a larger group of girls who had become interested in basketball through our new gym classes, thanks to the new school addition.”
Read the above sentence again. Bluffton High School completed a new addition to its building in 1933. Today this is the “old” wing of the school. But, it included a basketball gymnasium. Imagine that with the opening of a new gym girls’ basketball ended.
The team photo here is the 1925-26 team, when Locher was a junior on this squad.
1925-26 Bluffton High Schools girls’ basketball team
Front from left, Beulah Augsburger, Bea Burkholder and Mae Iler.
Second row, left, Katheryne Lugibill. Second row, right, Olive Locher.
Standing from left, Cathryn Warren, Dorothy Quiring, Elvira Gratz, Neva Bigler and Margaret Shawan, coach.
Olive Locher scored 58 points against Spencerville during the 1926-27 season.