No need for excessive lopsided scores

People who know me will tell you I have a passion for high school athletics.

I live for it. And in a way, I feel like covering high school athletics is my calling in life.

When I see something in high school athletics, I view as a wrong, however, it kind of gets my blood boiling.

Last weekend, I notice the New Town girls basketball team defeated a JV team from Williston Trinity Christian School by a score of 103-13. No joke, that was the final score.

Last summer, the North Dakota High School Activities Association implemented a running clock for all of Class B basketball. The running clock would start when the margin in a game reached 30 points in the final period.

That was supposed to reduce basketball games from reaching the point of the absurd, which can only describe the outcome of the New Town-WTCS contest.

Now to be clear, I was in favor of the new rule, considering football and hockey have running clocks after a certain point, and baseball has a 10-run rule after five innings.

To be fair and honest, I think last weekend’s situation was handled all wrong. New Town brought its varsity players to play against an opponent that has been playing a JV schedule for the last season or two.

Nevermind the fact that the Eagles put their own players at risk for injuries in a game that their second or third-string players likely would have had great success in.

What good can possibly come from a outcome like that? I was told by someone close to the situation that New Town wanted to practice its full court press for an upcoming big game.

The obvious question is why would pressing a JV squad help prepare you for a ‘big game’ against a varsity opponent? To some, that would come across as an excuse to run up the score.

A game like that is an opportunity for a varsity team to play its younger underclassmen, and that is the way New Town should have approached the game.

As it turns out, the extra practice didn’t help as much as planned. New Town lost to Watford City in overtime Monday night in a District 15 showdown.

Perhaps, the NDHSAA needs to revisit this and start a running clock when the margin hits 30 points at any point in the second half. In football, the running clock begins as early as the start of the second half if the margin is 30 points or greater. Maybe that needs to be applied to basketball as well.

I’m not trying to single out a school here. I just can’t help but wonder if scoring 103 points against a lesser opponent in preparing for a tougher opponent was necessarily the right thing to do.

What if the shoe was on the other foot? Just something to think about.

This is the opinion of Mark Jones, who covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MarkJones27_MDN.


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