A girls high school basketball team recently won a game 161-2, a result that led to a suspension for the winning team’s coach. Was this fair? Share your opinion below.
Michael Anderson coaches at Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino, Calif. His varsity squad is currently 19-1. Entering the game against Bloomington High School, they had won games with scores such as 95-22, 73-19, and 110-12. Looking at their results, it’s clear Arroyo Valley plays mostly overmatched opponents and can simply show up and expect to win by 40+. Bloomington, on the other hand, routinely gets blown out. They’re 0-17 and have lost games 103-12 and 48-3. A result of something around 60-10 is the norm.
That made this month’s Arroyo Valley-Bloomington game a perfect storm for a that-can’t-be-right blowout. The final score was 161-2, and Anderson was suspended for two games, presumably by the school district.* According to local news reports, Anderson played his starters the entire first half and used a full-court press throughout to take a 104-1 lead at half. In the third quarter, he switched to a half-court trap with some of his bench players. Not until the fourth quarter did he let up a bit, and he was aided by a running clock — which should come into play sooner, I think.
According to the San Bernardino County Sun, the Bloomington coach said of Anderson, “He’s a great Xs and Os coach. Ethically? Not so much. He knows what he did was wrong.” He said his team only advanced past half court a few times in the first half. Anderson admitted “the game just got away from me” and that he wasn’t trying to embarrass anybody. He said he didn’t submit the score to the local papers.
I talked to a few youth coaches about this. Nick Williams has coached high school basketball and agreed with the suspension. He said Anderson should have started his second stringers and let them practice the press, a tactic he’s used when playing overmatched opponents. “That would seem to be the best of both worlds for the coach who unrealistically thinks he has to squeeze every drop out of a game,” he said.
Lee Joffe, an AAU coach, said Anderson should have been fired, as it’s not that difficult to slow the pace and take 30 seconds or so before shooting. He said they could have tried a 1-3-1 defense on the fly or worked on proper defensive stance without going for steals. “There are so many ways to prevent a score like that and also help your players get better,” he said.
This wasn’t the first time we’ve seen such a result in girls high school hoops. Two seasons ago, a game in Indiana ended 107-2. In 2009, the coach of a Texas team was fired when he wouldn’t apologize for a 100-0 win.
So, what are your thoughts on blowouts like this one? Vote below.
*I called Arroyo Valley High School but was told by athletic director Matt Howell and others that they would not comment on the game. They wouldn’t even tell me what entity was responsible for the suspension. Shortly after the game, Howell did tell a newspaper that such a result is “not going to happen again.”