Girls Basketball

Susan Dufrane to be honored by Indiana Basketball HOF

2013-04-15T22:17:00Z 2013-04-16T14:09:12Z Susan Dufrane to be honored by Indiana Basketball HOFJohn Burbridge john.burbridge@nwi.com, (219) 933-3371 nwitimes.com

GRIFFITH | Susan Dufrane can trace girls basketball's timeline to when there wasn't a timeline, when fastbreaks were considered unladylike.

"It's kind of funny when you look back at it," Dufrane said of a version of girls basketball played back during her youth and maintained in some pockets of the country until the mid 1990s.

"It was called 'basquette'. You had three girls on offense in the front court, and three girls on defense in the back court," Dufrane said of a game that resembled a pair of 3-on-3 contests played on opposite sides yet sharing a single ball. "If you were a defensive player, you had to stay on your side of the court ... you couldn't dribble over the line; you could only pass the ball over it.

"When I tell people of it being that way, they have a hard time believing me."

Eventually, 'basquette' morphed to standard full-court basketball, and for more than 20 years Dufrane, 69, of Griffith ran up and down both sides of the floor for the entire game without taking a spell on the bench.

"I was working part-time at the Whiting Community Center, and was running the volleyball league," Dufrane said. "Someone approached me about earning some extra bucks as a basketball official."

For Dufrane, the rest was history. She went on to become an IHSAA-licensed official. She remembers working games featuring E.C.Roosevelt coaching legend Bobbie DeKemper and her star guard Lisa Sanchez, who helped the Roughriders to an undefeated state championship in 1979.

"Another team that was great was Gavit in 1975," Dufrane said, "but they didn't start the tournament for girls until the following year."

Dufrane herself made it to the state finals, twice.

During the women's induction banquet to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, held April 27 at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis, Dufrane and Dave Emery will be presented Center Circle Officials Awards, which honors past and present outstanding girls basketball officials.

Dufrane still keeps up with hoops, women's and men's, though she retired from officiating nearly a quarter century ago.

"I was taking care of my parents more back then, and I just no longer had the time," Dufrane said. "It was a good time for me to step down. You don't want to hang around too long when the game has passed you by and then wonder why no one is calling you for any assignments."

Dufrane's love for the game and her desire to have a positive impact on youths enabled  her to look past some of thankless aspects of being an official. She remembers a hairy situation when a belligerent male coach nearly twice her size refused to leave the gym after she hit him with multiple technicals.

"I told him that he didn't leave, I was going to call the game," Dufrane said. "He must have thought I was bluffing because he wasn't going anywhere. So I threw up my arms and said, 'Game over ... forfeit.' The crowd went nuts.

"Later, I was in the locker room area they reserved for officials, and I was really stressed out. I just ended a varsity basketball game. So to calm my nerves, I light up a cigarette just as the (IHSAA) superintendent walks in. I'm thinking, 'Oh, no! I just called a game, now I'm going to get it for smoking in a high school locker room.' But he didn't say anything about that, and commended me for the way I handled the situation."

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