Amid the Iowa patchwork of cornfields that roll into horizons and barns adorned with painted quilts, there’s talk of making a Hollywood movie about a 1950s high school basketball championship.
Last weekend, the chatter rekindled memories as members of the 1956 state champion girls team met in tiny Maynard with the Iowa-born author of a book about their season and with the Indiana-based screenwriter who is working on a screenplay.
“Everybody’s really excited about it for a small town,” said Justin Walton, who lives near the 500-resident Maynard. “It’s great. You can see the smiles on the faces, you can see the people lapping it up. It’s bringing back the great glory days.”
In 1956, the Maynard Blue Devils girls team won the state title under a single-class system. The leading scorer, the late Carolyn Nicholson Borland, was the mother of Brian J. Borland, author of “Maynard 8 Miles.” His family farm was eight miles from the Maynard school in northeastern Iowa.
Borland, now 54, didn’t know of his mother’s fame until 2006 when he overheard his parents talk about a 50-year reunion of the team.
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Brian Borland had no idea his mother, Carolyn, was a star from a bygone era, a basketball player who lit up gymnasiums in small-town Iowa with her shooting and passing, who set scoring records that stood for years.
Borland knew his father, Glenn, had been a team captain at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1950s, known for his signature left-handed hook shot. But his mom? There was no reason to suspect she had a competitive bone in her body.
“All of her friends in Madison, her bowling buddies, her bridge club buddies, they had no idea she ever played one second of sports,” Borland said.
In January 2006, he heard his parents talking about an upcoming 50-year reunion in Des Moines, where the 1956 Iowa girls state championship team would be honored.
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In 1956, Carolyn (Nicholson) Borland, along with her sister, Glenda, led Maynard to its first girls’ state basketball title.
Borland didn’t know it then, but she helped shape the future of Iowa high school girls’ basketball. Four years after her son, Brian Borland, told her story in his book “Maynard 8 Miles,” it was announced that she will be enshrined on the big screen when the book is made into a movie in the coming years.
“It is very exciting,” Brian Borland said during a phone interview. “It was something that I have been working on. When I wrote the book, I kind of had this vision that it could be a movie because it was such a compelling story.”
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