There has been much discussion over the past few weeks about the score of the girl’s high school basketball game in Ohio between Gilmour and Northeast Ohio College Prep. The final score was 108-1 in favor of Gilmour. The score was 72-1 at halftime. It is the first year that Northeast Ohio College Prep is eligible for the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) girl’s state basketball tournament. The school is only in its fifth year of existence with their sports teams.
More than a dozen games girls’ basketball games were won by more than 40 points in the first week of the 2016 OHSAA playoffs. Ohio girls’ basketball rules do not have a running clock mercy rule in effect at this time. This means that when a team is winning by more than 30 points in the second half of a game the clock will continue to run as long as the differential is 30 points or more. Many states have adopted this rule to help alleviate the type of situation that occurred in the game between Gilmour and Northeast College Prep.
Some would say that if a team doesn’t want to be beaten this badly then they should do something about it and get better. However, when a team is playing with many underclassmen versus a very experienced team that has many upperclassmen, it is easier said than done. Others would say that it is the coach of the dominant teams’ responsibility to play with class and sportsmanship and not run up the score.
There are many things that can be done from a coaching standpoint to make sure this lopsided of a score does not take place. They could simply hold the ball in a four corner type of offense and play until they either turn it over or throw it away. They could play all players that don’t get much playing time throughout the course of the season. They could purposefully turn the ball over without the other team knowing to help alleviate the scoring. However, for some coaches, programs, and communities it is more important to win convincingly.
One would think that a coach would be thinking how he/she was going to explain this type of scoring deficit when the media gets ahold of the news. Evidently that wasn’t as important as embarrassing the team from Northeast Ohio College Prep. Coaches have the ability in these types of situations to teach a valuable lesson in sportsmanship to their players. A coach can talk until they’re blue in the face about how they didn’t try to disrespect or embarrass the other team. Not enough steps were taken to keep this game from getting out of control. What an embarrassment to the coaching profession.
Dr. Bret Simmermacher is the Chair of Sports Coaching at the USSA. He can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
29 February, 2016
Bret Simmermacher, DSM