Look Back ... to a fan base for girls' basketball, 1998

Jan. 24—Jan. 24, 1948: The date fell on a Saturday during a 12-year period (1940-52) when The Star didn't publish on that day of the week.

Jan. 24, 1998, in The Star: Pete Mathews Coliseum was rocking two nights ago with cheering fans attending the Calhoun County Basketball Tournament — by watching girls' teams play. On this night, hundreds turned out to watch the girls' teams from Ohatchee High School and Jacksonville High School vie for dominance in hoops. Local girls' basketball coaches say that kind of support is becoming more and more common. Dana Austin, head coach of Jacksonville State University's women's basketball team, says fan interest has increased because the talent level of women players has improved. Austin, who has 17 years of experience as a player and a coach, says the girls "are bigger and stronger." Municipal youth basketball leagues can take some of the credit for developing solid high school players, one recreation department spokesman observed.