It’s been the elephant in the room for much of the season and it was bound to come up at some point and today was that day.
I’ve attended every game this season but one for the Hopewell Junior High Gold Basketball team. Most times, I sit by myself off to the side and next to the visiting crowd.
As you know, this team is very talented and aside from the South Fayette contest, every game has pretty much been a blowout.
With the scores of these games being so lopsided, it was only a matter of time before the topic of ‘running up the score” was brought up, so I’m kind of surprised that it took ten games for it to happen.
Within a few minutes of today’s opening tipoff against Avonworth, it was obvious to anyone in the crowd that Hopewell was a lot better than Avonworth. A LOT BETTER as evidenced by the halftime score of 41-3.
At the early stages of the second quarter, I started to hear from some ‘opinionated’ Avonworth fans, who weren’t happy with Hopewell head coach Doug Biega.
These misinformed fans were screaming at the Hopewell coach and accusing him of running up the score. One of the things that had them upset was Hopewell pressing while up 20+ points and also a couple sequences when their tight man-t0-man defense resulted in steals and layups for Hopewell. The Avonworth faithful were also less than happy that Hopewell starters were still playing in the second quarter.
Here’s something else that made me laugh and turned out to be my breaking point. Near the end of the second quarter, as all coaches do, Biega said something to one of his players following a turnover. It’s called coaching. However, the fan yelled, “yeah Coach, get upset because your team turned it over. Isn’t being up 30 some points good enough for you.”
That was all I could take, and I couldn’t stay silent any longer. I turned around, smirked at the fan and said, “will you give it rest. Quit complaining about Hopewell being good. What are the players and coaches supposed to do, stop playing and hold the ball?”
Following their non-sensical answer, I replied, “our kids shouldn’t get penalized because they’re talented. They practice during the week, it’s only the second quarter, shouldn’t they play the rest of the game, so that it’s fair?”
Following their response, I ended this discussion by saying, “Did you have this same opinion this past football season when your high school team beat Hopewell 45-6 and the two seasons before that when Avonworth won by a combined score of 100-0.” Of course, they had no response expect to say, “I don’t know anything about that” to which I replied, “I do, because I’m from Hopewell.”
Hopewell has been on their fair share of these lopsided scores over the last handful of years and shouldn’t have to apologize when the shoes on the other foot.
The bottom line is that Coach Biega did nothing wrong today and has handled his substitutions this season very fairly. He and his starting five of James Armstrong, Brody Rock, Tre Cameron, Avery Bokor and Jack Biega shouldn’t be penalized because they’re really good.
In today’s game, Biega could’ve scored 80+ points if he ‘wanted to run things up’ but decided to sit his starting five THE ENTIRE SECOND HALF. He’s sat his starters in the second half in other games this season when the score was lopsided.
Biega’s responsibility is to coach these players, work on certain plays, sets and ultimately get them prepared to play high school next season. He shouldn’t have to concern himself with not hurting another teams feelings because they’re not talented enough to keep a game close.
That may sound harsh but it’s the truth.
The same thing goes for when the second team is in the game. The Hopewell players should play just as hard and try and score every time they have the ball. These reserve players practice just as much as the starters and shouldn’t take the air out of the ball. Score if you can and the opposing teams’ job is to try and stop you.
I didn’t mean to go on a rant and this website isn’t meant to be controversial but what was being yelled at the Hopewell sideline today was wrong and something needed to be said about it.
Are their cases of teams running up a score in high school sports? Yes, no doubt about it. But that wasn’t the case today and hasn’t been the case with the Hopewell Junior High basketball team this season.
The only thing that they’re guilty of is being good. My advice to the opposing teams is to get better.