WAUKON, Iowa - It hindsight, it probably was meant to happen like this.
On his home court. Against his hometown.
Gene Klinge earned his 1,000th career win as a girls' basketball coach Thursday night; Class 3A 15th-ranked Waukon got 60 points from Daneshia Snitker and Alyssa Collins in an 88-60 victory over MFL MarMac at Waukon High School.
"It's been a wonderful run," Klinge said afterward. "But I'm glad to have this over with. The girls had gotten tired of it, and I had gotten tired of it.
"I know it's a tremendous accomplishment; I don't mean to make light of it at all. For a while, I'd begun to wonder if it wasn't going to happen until next year."
Three times prior to Thursday, Klinge and the Indians had been denied. Waukon lost Friday at New Hampton and Saturday at Caledonia (Minn.), letting substantial halftime leads get away both times.
Its game Tuesday at home against Crestwood was called off due to weather.
"Last week, we were uptight and worried," Collins said. "Tonight, we were relaxed and ready."
Snitker posted a milestone of her own, reaching the 1,000-point mark for her career. She finished with 32 points, and Collins tacked on 28.
"We just went out and played like it was a normal game," Snitker said.
According to the National Federation of High Schools record book, five coaches had previously led their girls' basketball teams to 1,000 victories.
Klinge's record in 51 seasons: 1,000-239.
"More than anything, I'm proud of the percentage of games we've won in the long haul," Klinge said. "A thousand wins, more than anything, means a lot of cold feet on the bottom of yellow buses through the years."
Klinge, 76, grew up in Monona and graduated from high school there in 1955.
Ironically, Klinge became the state's winningest girls basketball coach at the expense of MFL MarMac as well. Waukon beat the Bulldogs on Jan. 2, 2010, at the U.S. Cellular Center for Klinge's 939th win, moving him past Bob Mullen on top of the list.
He coached 41 years at West Central High School in Maynard, then took the job at Waukon in 2003. He guided the Indians to the Class 3A state championship in his first year (2003-04).
That's one of 16 teams he has taken to state -- 12 at West Central, four at Waukon.
The outcome was never in doubt Thursday. Snitker scored the first 10 points of the game (her 1,000th point came on a short jumper with 3:20 left in the first quarter), and Waukon led 15-4 after one quarter and 39-24 at intermission.
From there, the lead grew steadily. The final minute was a coronation, the crowd standing and the noise growing to a crescendo that peaked at the buzzer.
Klinge received a game ball, a commemorative money clip and an orange and black bust in his likeness.
Over their uniforms, the girls wore dark gray shirts.
On the back, they read, "Klinge, 1,000 ... and counting."
WAUKON 88, MFL MAR MAC 60
MFL MAR MAC (60): Hayley Vogt 0-3 3-5 3, Chanice Drahn 1-2 0-0 2, Madelyn Vogt 8-17 4-6 22, Lexi Dettbarn 4-11 2-2 13, Erin Kinley 3-5 1-2 7, Jililan Haberichter 1-1 3-4 5, Chaunte Drahn 1-1 4-4 6, Briana Berger 0-0 2-4 2, Samantha McNally 0-0 0-0 0, Autumn Miene 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-40 19-27 60.
WAUKON (88): Abie Mellick 1-3 0-0 2, Daneshia Snitker 15-24 2-3 32, Kiersten Christianson 4-5 0-0 11, Alyssa Collins 13-18 2-3 28, Eli Ronan 0-2 0-0 0, Ashley Fuhrman 0-0 0-0 0, Courtney Wikan 2-2 0-0 5, Leah Bossom 1-1 0-0 2, Regan Hackett 0-0 0-0 0, Alexa Herman 1-2 0-0 2, Corbin Snitker 3-4 0-0 6, Brookelyn Adam 0-1 0-0 0, McKayla Stock 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 40-65 4-6 88.
Halftime: Waukon 39, MFL MarMac 24. 3-point goals: MFL MarMac 5-10 (M.Vogt 2-3, Dettbarn 3-7), Waukon 4-8 (Mellick 0-1, D.Snitker 0-2, Christianson 3-4, Wikan 1-1). Team fouls: MFL MarMac 8, Waukon 22. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: MFL MarMac 20 (M.Vogt 4), Waukon 30 (D.Snitker 7). Assists: MFL MarMac 10 (Chaunte Drahn 3), Waukon 28 (Wikan 8). Steals: MFL MarMac 7 (H.Vogt, Chaunte Drahn 2), Waukon 14 (Collins 4). Turnovers: MFL MarMac 18, Waukon 12.