Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scape Crusaders? Nah, don't blame them

I got an e-mail today from a reader who took exception to a comment by North County Christian basketball player Kirk Sheplay in the latest Athlete of the Week story.

Sheplay said it was one of the Crusaders' team goals to score 100 points in a game this season, and after scoring in the 80s and 90s no fewer than six previous times, they did it in a 103-18 win over Shandon last week.

To at least one reader, this perceived idea of beating a team and "rubbing their noses in it" was a knock on NCC's sportsmanship, or a lack thereof.

Blowout wins. It's a topic always ripe for discussion, and the timeliness of the Crusaders' recent dominance brings it to the forefront.

Here's my basic opinion: It's usually parents who feel the sting of an embarrassing score. The coaches don't come away grumbling about having the score run up on them. And the only thing about blowout losses that humiliates players is not playing — or, even worse, being subbed in the game with less than 1 minute left.

The score in blowouts is just some theoretical thing up on the scoreboard. A win's a win. A loss is a loss. When the difference is more than 20, it might as well be 100.

If the kids and coaches from the losing team aren't worrying about it, then neither should anyone else.

But in the case of NCC, I have to admit that even I allowed the thought of running up the score to creep into my mind while interviewing Kirk. Yet, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that it's just an unfortunate situation for both teams.

The Crusaders, a strong and experienced team, had to play the Outlaws, a young squad rebuilding with a new coach. It's on the schedule. They're in the same league. There's nothing either school can do at this point.

But does NCC have to play with ruthless aggression, go as hard as it possibly can within the rules and squash an overmatched opponent?

Yes, and here's why.

The Crusaders have a good team with high expectations, not only for this year but for next, since so many starters on the team are juniors. They want to go as far as they can in the playoffs. And to do that, they have to be prepared and experienced in playing their hardest — playing their pressing and trapping style — for an entire game.

Unfortunately for them, their league schedule is littered with games against teams that can't be competitive with them, at least not this year.

If they let up, play lazily and perform below their potential to keep scores closer and, therefore, less humiliating for the opposing teams, they only hurt their own chances against other good teams, the kind they'll see in the playoffs.

If there weren't so many gimmes for NCC in the Coast Valley League, you could make an argument for going easy on a Shandon here or there, but you can't blame the NCC coaches for feeling the need to keep their team as sharp as possible when they are winning league games by an average of 50 points.

They've only had a couple close games all year, and you have to simulate intensity somehow.

That's not to say "anything goes." No team should get away with things like calling a timeout with a few seconds left in a blowout to set up an alley-oop dunk. And You don't leave your starters in the whole game.

There are unwritten rules just like in every sport, and as long as teams abide by them, it's OK. By all reports we've received at The Tribune, it seems NCC is doing just that.

If the 100 point thing is still bothersome, read this: I was a spectator in a high school girls game when I was a teenager where the opposing team beat my school 128-25 or something like that. I only remember it because there was a big push by that team to beat my school by 100 points. And my school was trying its hardest not to let the other do it.

Just think, if you were a kid and you had 90-some points, wouldn’t you want to get over the hump and just go for the milestone? It’s human nature, and I don’t think worse of Kirk Sheplay for being honest about it.

And if the Crusaders ever find themselves on the other side of a blowout, they won't have much right to make any hoopla either.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

C'mon everyone, they are just trying to get in a good position for CIF, and the only way to do that is to set high goals for yourself. Can you really blame him for setting a lofty goal for his team?

Anonymous said...

Its about time the NCC isnt the one on the other side of the coin.
Our varsity team never got to play their varsity team because of the difference in ability.
As for their division, NCC is in a division with some of the toughest teams in the state. If there wasnt a change in the Southern Section divisions, they would have to play Price (6 time state champion) in CIF,thats a team with D1 kids. That team is in D3 for CIF D5 for state, thus if NCC makes it that far, they will see some of the states best players

Aaron Crutchfield said...

The thing with the Crusaders this year is the starters are only playing 18 or so minutes a game. Usually, they start the game, then all get subbed out in the second quarter, then the starters return in the third quarter and leave the game again in the fourth quarter. All but one league game has seen a running clock used in the fourth quarter because of a 40-or-more-point lead. During the Shandon game, the subs in the fourth quarter had a much better game than normal; Sheplay, Chance Sorensen and Evan Redel, etc. weren't on the court for that. From a coach's perspective, it's awfully hard to tell the bench warmers that they can't score when they finally do get a chance to play.

I was at the NCCS-Coast Union game and afterwards, coach Paul Sorensen told me that a big reason for scheduling the Broncos during league season was to up the level of competition. He also wanted to make sure I didn't make it sound like he was slamming the other schools in the league. Personally, I'd have liked to have seen the Crusaders get a crack at a school like Morro Bay or Templeton.

Joshua D. Scroggin said...

"...it's awfully hard to tell the bench warmers that they can't score when they finally do get a chance to play."

More to my point, Aaron. You can't ever tell a player not to go hard. Maybe you pull back the press. Maybe instead of fast-breaking, you slow down and run the offense.

As a coach, there are devices you can use to slow the scoring, but you cannot let your players get lazy or play with less intensity. It only builds bad habits that come back to bite you when it counts.

There's only so much you can do, and when you have a league schedule that, quite frankly, does not prepare you for tough playoff competition, it's not a healthy situation for NCC.

No, they don't want to be viewed as poor sports, but the Crusaders don't want to get used to playing down to opponents or not living up to their potential, either. Their starters need to be used to playing more than 18 minutes a game.

No, it's not fun for the teams getting squashed, but it's a rock and hard place for NCC, too.

Anonymous said...

Sheplay is a good kid, as are the other NCC kids. It wasn't long before that we were playing against JV teams in the area. It's nice to see the team doing well.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from the SLO vs A-town Basketball game. SLO won 57 to 50. All I can say is A-town is a one sport school. It looked like they brought the JV team to play varsity. All they had was 3 point attempts and fouls. I hope Atascadero enjoyed the wedgie SLO put on them.

That being said, I know they own the Football field, so don't go there, this is Basketball season and A-town lost...........

Anon E. Muss said...

You forgot wrestling. Righetti is a good team and Atascadero squeaked out a win down there. The rest of the schools in the area, Atascadero can beat with its JV kids. I'm not exaggerating, either... their JV kids won the varsity Cabrillo Duals tournament.

Anonymous said...

SLO, North County Christian, Morro Bay, Templeton. All I know is that the best basketball player in the county is the big guy in Paso, David Cone, and you guys don't even mention him. This guy blocks shots, and keeps every team they play from driving and scoring, cause after blocking a few shots and altering a few more, they gotta shoot from outside. He scores a bunch of points even though he's double and triple teamed and he's a great passer. He leads the county in rebounds in spite of getting pushed and grabbed on evey play. He dives on the floor for loose balls. Ask coaches who they would like to build their team around and it would be Cone. I asked Larson about him and he said he's one of the hardest working most selfless kids he's ever coached. Wanna know what Paso's record would be without him?

Anonymous said...

I would like to formally mention David Cone The kid is incredible. D1 player for sure.

Also. Atas is the best high school period. Any sport, anywhere, anytime.

mbbball said...

first off david cone is not the best player in the county get real. and atascadero is sorry at basketball.

The Truth said...

david cone will never get any playing time at any d1 school, he is a waste of height. If he ever played against anyone over 6-7 you would see how terrible he really is

Anonymous said...

come on. David will mature to be a great B ball player.

Anonymous said...

There any other kids selected for McDonald's All American in the county? No, just Cone. Enough said, and oh yeah he plays against guys as big and bigger than him all during the off season...while every other mediocre kid was sitting on his butt!

Anonymous said...

hahaha anyone can get mentioned for McDonald's All American... all those are are nominations and those all come out of the woodwork most the time.
Dylan Royer should be county player of the year. Hattar will probably get it because of his scoring, but thats a result of shooting a lot of 3s and playing vs lesser teams. unfortunately for both Royer and Hattar their coaches placed an emphasis on having a nice record and not improving their teams. it will show come play off time.
if you try to size up the county teams in terms of strength of schedule, Mission Prep would be at the top. however, their inconsistencies have caught up with them at times, resulting in losses, that could have easily been wins (ie splits with St. Joes and Templeton).
As for cone he is finally getting significant playing time since the "Fab 5" of Paso has graduated. He could be decent at D2 or JC. But i dont think hes quick enough or strong enough to play much. The college game is too fast and guard based now days

Anonymous said...

Haha...if anyone can get nominated for McDonalds, then why aren't hattar, royer, woolpert, etc? And the 5 have been gone for two years now. Cone sarted every game last year too. Don't your obvious MP bias cloud your judgment on this one.

Anonymous said...

i must be missing the bias in that comment cause all he did was say that mp has shot themselves in the foot

Anonymous said...

Dang morro bay whooped on templeton!

Anonymous said...

he must assume the bias comes from noticing that MP has played one of the toughest schedules in the area and possibly the state.
cone must have played a good game in front of someone during something.. i dont know if he played AAU or what, but i could guarantee you that if he had to play someone his own size, hed get owned.
as for Hattar, it showed his skill vs MB, 2 points in the game. Royer lit up Templeton again.
Julian Demmerville (spelling sorry) has been solid all season as well.. hes a horse same as Shane Kennedy both have averaged a double double on the season while being 7 and 4 inches shorter respectively.

Anonymous said...

Hey, nobody around here is Cone's size, that's why nobody "owns" him around here. Every team just grabs and double and triples up on him cause til about a month ago, if you could stop him, you beat Paso. Other guys have stepped up big time. By the way, two summers ago Cone held Michael Beasley to 6 points in an AAU game. So much for getting owned.

Anonymous said...

How about some track talk paso has 180 people on their track team they should repeat for sure and they have Nathan Nelson

Anonymous said...

Paso needs to build a 2nd High School based on enrollment. They are so much bigger then SLO, Atas, Lompoc, AG etc. that there is no excuse for them not to dominate in every sport. But they don't. Average at best. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

sorry, no D1 players in SLO COunty this year, just some potential jucos.

Cone, too gangly & slo for D1. After two years at a juco, you never know, Kurt Rambis played on showtime.

Hattar, maybe a 3 pt zone breaker, at best. Role player. Not enough quickness. Steve Alford, light.

Royer, not quick enough. Can muscle enough and BB savvy for his HS competition, but could not even compete for a starting job in the Big West. Bad offensive scheme going on in MB. Why doesn't this guard oriented team press???? Anyone???

Great SLO County high school players, that's it.

Anonymous said...

well i know that royer as well as mitchell woolpert were getting looks from some ivy league schools. plus royer starts on one of the best aau teams in california hes bound to go somewhere

Anonymous said...

yea and for not being able to make it to the big west starting jobs, royer is getting looked at by cal poly and last time i checked they were big west. plus like the above me said he's getting looked at by better schools then the big west.

Anonymous said...

Wow, have you seen Cone's recruiting list?? Don't even say he's too slow or gangly, the scouts don't seem to think so. Also, he played a really good club team the past two summers.

anonymous said...

As it is already known Cone is headed to BIola university where coach sundkist really stresses the use of the big man, this in my opinion is the perfect fit for cone. The one thing that has failed to come up is the true reason Cone was considered by a handful of bigger schools is because of how hard of a worker he is, on the court and off, cone has showed what college recruits like to see, intensity and a passion for the game. if you ever went and saw a paso high game this year you would realize that most teams in the pac 7 league had more talent but those paso boys under coach larson play harder than any other team in the pac 7 hands down.