NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As state high basketball champs are crowned this weekend, the first-ever winners of the girl’s high school championship are being honored. It has been 50 years since the historic title was won. The first girl’s state champion comes from the small town of San Jon.

Anita and Terry Lee grew up playing basketball. Terry said, to them, it was all about having fun. Their dad, Ed, was the superintendent and the girl’s basketball coach. Although San Jon was undefeated 17-0, they knew they had to step up their game when it came to playing against Texico for the championship. “We scrimmage the boys. We practiced like the boys. He coached the boys for 17 years, so he thought we should be able to play just like them,” said Lee.

Title 9 ruling said girls need to have the same opportunities as boy sports. A total of 41 schools took part in the first girls’ basketball tournament back in 1973. Ronda Mitchell understands the magnitude of that decision for girl sports and her team. “It’s a different perspective. I mean, it’s like the game has advanced, the girls have advanced, you know. You’re proud to be a trailblazer for them,” said Mitchell.

Rogene Bowe Music said she still remembers the words Coach Lee would tell the team before every game. “Have fun but play hard, and I don’t care if you mess up, if you miss a shot. Play hard and do your best,” said Bowe Music.

San Jon Girls Basketball Team will be honored on the Pit floor at halftime of the 10 a.m. final state championship game Saturday morning. In 1973, all schools played in the same girl’s tournament. It was years later that schools were separated by size of the school.