There Is No Good In A 105-Point Victory
The Bloomington High School South (Ind.) girls basketball coaches can frame it any way they want, but what they did to Arlington Community High School last Tuesday night goes against the spirit and purpose of high school athletics. There is no way to justify a 107-2 victory. I don’t care if Bloomington South utilized all nine of its players and rotated them in to play every four minutes. I don’t care if the coaches claim they weren’t trying to embarrass anyone.
Arlington Community will bounce back from this. The team is keeping a positive, upbeat attitude in the news pieces I’ve read. I worry more about the players at Bloomington South. Someday they are going to realize ripping a team by more than 100 points isn’t how you want to remember your playing days. Embarrassing a group of girls isn’t the way you want to represent your school.
Last year I spent a couple of weeks with the Oregon City High School (Ore.) girls basketball team during the playoffs. The Pioneers have decades of winning on their side and have seen their fair share of blowouts. I asked head coach Kurt Guelsdorf about how he handles games that are getting out of control.
“The game is about sportsmanship. When we’re up 30, we’re going to take the pressure off. You have to make that decision based on who you are playing. It’s a case-by-case thing. Thirty has been our magic number for a long time. We don’t ever want to embarrass teams, he told me.
Sure enough, in Oregon City’s opening-round playoff game, the squad raced out to a 49-15 halftime lead. After discussing what his team did properly and some of the mistakes they made in the first half, Guelsdorf spent a little time on sportsmanship during his halftime talk. The Pioneers came out of the locker room, sat back in a half-court defense, played everyone on the bench and won 83-32.
Oregon City’s practices were much more competitive than this game. Could the Pioneers have scored 100 points that night? Sure. But nothing was to be gained by embarrassing the other team.
Bloomington South was in a similar position this week and decided to keep shooting. Some are trying to defend the team by saying the players need to work on certain skills in game action. I’m certain the South players easily could have broken down the defense with the dribble, penetrated toward the hoop and then practiced their kick-out passes to the perimeter. On defense, they could have worked on sliding to stay in front of the ball handler rather than constantly forcing turnovers.
Congratulations, Bloomington South. We learned a lot about your program Tuesday. You won by 105 points but you still don’t understand the game of girls basketball.
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