State Championship Newhall girls' basketball team welcomed home, 1927

Newhall residents greet their 1927 state champion girls’ basketball team. 

1920 ushered in voting rights for women in the U.S. and girls’ state basketball tournaments in Iowa. Though girls’ basketball flourished in small, rural Iowa communities, wider disagreements about the appropriateness of girls’ participation in competitive sports led to the formation of separate athletic organizations to govern boys’ and girls’ sports in Iowa. Teams from Newhall (pop. 336) and Ida Grove (pop. 2206) won some of the first state tournaments sponsored by the newly formed Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) in the late 1920s. Small-town dominance would be threatened, however, as the century progressed and school consolidation in Iowa reduced the number of districts from over 4000 to less than 400.