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Iowa History Daily: December 23 - Lorenzen vs. Jensen 6-on-6 Showdown

Iowa History Daily: On December 23, 1986, Iowa 6-on-6 basketball legends Lynne Lorenzen of no. 1-ranked Ventura and Jan Jensen of no. 2-ranked Elk Horn-Kimballton battled on the hardwood. Ventura won in overtime 103-94 in a game which saw Jensen score 70 and Lorenzen put in 68. 

Lorenzen, born with basketball in her blood, honed her skills in the family’s red barn. Lynne’s mother, Frances Billerbeck formed half of the double-trouble Billerbecks for the 1952 Reinbeck High School team which captured the state title with the help of her twin sister Francine. Thousands of hours of practice banking in shots in the barn prepared Lorenzen for hardwood stardom at Ventura High School. In a career chock-full of highlights, Lorenzen once notched a 100 point game against Woden-Crystal Lake in 1986. 

Jan Jensen also came from 6-on-6 royalty. Her grandmother, Dorcas “Lottie” Andersen, helped her high school team to the state championship in 1921. The local newspaper dubbed Andersen “Lottie” because she frequently scored ‘a lot’ of points. Like her grandmother, Jensen also poured in the points: during her senior season in 1987 she led the country with 66 points per game.

In December of 1986, the state’s two top scorers squared off in a match-up at the Urbandale McDonald’s Tournament. Jensen came into the contest leading the state in scoring at a blistering 69.7 ppg average to Lorenzen’s 65.4 ppg. The back-and-forth game saw both standout scorers pouring in the points over the first three quarters. With five minutes left, however, Lorenzen fouled out and headed to the bench with 68 points. With EH-K leading as the clock wound down, sophomore Kelly Smillie stepped up for Ventura to hit a 12-foot jumper at the buzzer and send the game to overtime with the score tied 94-94. In the extra period the Vikings held Jensen and the Danes scoreless to capture the victory. 

Lorenzen went on to capture the national scoring record, as well as the Naismith women’s high school basketball player of the year in 1987, Lorenzen went on to star at Iowa State from 1987 to 1991. A member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame, Lorenzen’s legacy still reminds Iowans of the glory days when 6-on-6 girls basketball drew the attention and acclaim of Iowans statewide.

Jensen went on to Drake where she averaged 29.6 points per game to lead the country in scoring. Following college, Jensen headed to Germany where she helped lead BTV-Wuppertal to the German Club Championship. With her playing days done, Jensen returned to Iowa where she continues to help influence basketball in the state. Returning to Drake as an assistant coach on Bluder’s staff, Jensen helped guide the Bulldogs to five 20 win seasons and eight Missouri Valley Conference Tournaments. Although Drake offered Jensen the head job when Bluder left for the University of Iowa in 2000, Jensen stuck with her former coach. Currently, Jensen serves as the Associate Head Coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar #IowaOTD


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