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What Would You Do If Your Basketball Team Lost 100-2?

November 28, 2011 · 124 comments

in Commentary, Life

Recently in Kentucky, there was a middle school boys basketball tournament.  Tournaments can be a great way to get a sports team ready for regular season play, and quite often, there can be lopsided games.

However, I don’t know if there has ever been as lopsided game as the one that occurred between Pikeville and Kimper middle schools, where the score was 100-2.

Yes, 100-2.

Can you imagine how long that game must have seemed?  Geez, I couldn’t even handle the last game of the Detroit Tigers-Texas Rangers playoff series this year when the Tigers got routed 15-5.  I would have lost my mind if my child was losing (or winning) 100-2.  Actually, Pikeville was winning 25-0 within the first 2 minutes of the game.  (At least the coach stopped full-court pressing at that point and removed all the starters.  Details of the game can be seen here.)

So now, Pikeville is at risk for having their season canceled as punishment for drubbing the opposing team.

Really, there is no easy answer for this situation.  However, I don’t think canceling the season is the proper response.  The people that will get hurt in that situation is the kids, and they totally don’t deserve that.  Sure, maybe they should have toned down their play, but they are kids.  It is up to the adults in this situation to do the right thing.

What Could the Pikeville Coach Do?

Really, the Pikeville coach’s hands were tied to a degree (although there is no excuse for having a full court press for more than 2 seconds in that game).  I have seen lopsided games before and there is no graceful way to handle it. If you pass the ball around like you are playing cat and mouse, that is insulting.  You could require opposite hand dribbling and shooting, but that might have still resulted in a similar score.  I don’t understand why there wasn’t a mercy rule like they have in high school.  (At least in Michigan during the regular season there is a mercy rule, I have no idea what happens in tournaments.)   I am not saying the coach shouldn’t be punished in some way, but I definitely don’t think these kids should  be denied a season of basketball.

Who Schedules A Game Like This In The First Place?

Fact is, this game never should have happened, period.  If a tournament does not have an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ bracket, then only similar caliber teams should be scheduled to play.  (Although Pikeville and Kimper are still supposed to meet up during regular season play anyway, which is pretty messed up in my opinion.)  The losing school, Kimper middle school, is very small and had no business playing one of the best middle school teams literally in the country.  I look at where my kids go to school and there is  a total of around 135 kids in the middle school. It would be insane to put them up against some of the bigger, more talented division 1 schools in the area, and our athletic director would never allow it.

Bottom Line:  There Is A Lot of Blame To Go Around

There are so many people at fault for this situation, least of which are the kids, who at this point will bear the brunt of the punishment if the season is canceled for them.  The Kimper coach never should have signed his team up for the tournament, the Pikeville coach should have had more class (I am sure a coach with his experience knew that he was going to be playing a team way beneath his team’s skill level), the ref should have stopped the game at a certain point, and the tournament director should have never allowed the two teams to play each other.  Now, there is a big mess about something that is supposed to be fun:  kids basketball.

What do you think?  Would you cancel the Pikeville basketball season?  Would you fire the coach?  Or, do you think life should just go on without any repercussions for anyone, and consider it a lesson learned?  Would you rather if your child was on the winning or losing team?




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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

MoneyCone November 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Ouch! Talk about a game being lopsided! What matters is not how the losing team lost, but how they will prepare for the next one.


Kris November 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm

MC, you are very right. I wonder too how the parents handled it overall.


Krantcents November 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

This reminds me of the USC v UCLA football game on Saturday.. The score 50 to zero. I think it is the obligation of the coach to keep the score down by playing second and third string kids after it is obvious they will win.


Kris November 30, 2011 at 9:39 am

Oh my gosh, I had not heard about that football game. I am surprised it didn’t get more press. However, I had family in town so maybe I was just out of touch.

I remember when USC and UCLA used to be a close game!


MoneyReasons November 29, 2011 at 6:07 am

In soccer, I’ve seen the superior team’s coach pull kids from the field, leaving a few less on the field than the inferior team. This tends to even it out a bit, and still gives the superior team a good workout.

Everybody loves a good Rocky story, unless Rocky gets pummeled.


Kris November 29, 2011 at 8:50 am

Yeah, I think Rocky would have been on life support within about 4 seconds of the fight if this basketball game was related to boxing.

I thought about removing players and such too, although I wonder if just 2 kids could have taken on the other team. Again, no good solution, such unevenly matched teams should never have to play each other. Poor kids.


Dmarie November 29, 2011 at 6:19 pm

yeah, no good solution. *sigh*


Daniel Helfen November 29, 2011 at 8:08 am

I am ashamed to live in Pikeville. My first thoughts on the subject were to cancel the season and fire the coach. This however does not help the situation. I think it would benifit both teams if the Pikeville Team personally apologised to the Kimper team. Secondly the Pikeville Team should offer to Help the Kimper boys by inviting the to a clinic where they can help them become better players. Thirdly, the pikeville team should perform several hours of community service to allow the boys to give back to the community that they have hurt so badly. Both Kimper and Pikeville are losers in this situation.


Kris November 29, 2011 at 8:48 am

Daniel, thank you for sharing your perspective as it is great to hear from someone that actually lives in the area. It is indeed an awful situation,and there are no winners. I love the idea of Pikeville offering a clinic for the Kimper kids. It sounds like the Pikeville team has plenty of AAU players, and that team may annihilate even very good teams. This coach sounds pretty experienced and obviously cutthroat unfortunately.

Remember when kids used to play basketball at the park and adults weren’t involved? I think things may have been better back then…


First Gen American November 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

Well, I’m glad it’s made the news and I hope it creates an opportunity to learn from. I went to a tiny school too so I know how it feels to be the underdog. I think your suggestions of matching up the teams better is a good one. I hope all this drama doesn’t bring the kids down too much. They are not at fault.


Kris November 29, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I hope too that people learn from it instead of just blaming others. Poor kiddos.


Roshawn @ Watson Inc November 29, 2011 at 11:13 am

I personally just think the ref should have stopped it. I do find it insulting that the winning coach would be fired or that the kids should get punished. If that makes me sound ungraceful, then so be it.


Kris November 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

There are so many people at fault that I don’t know how you could blame just one person. Think of how awful everyone must have felt in that gym after the game- both the winners and the losers.


Heather November 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I think it depends in how the kids were acting. There is a lot to be said for demeanor. If the kids were excited to have such a great pounding, then yes, cancel the season.

That said, when I was in 9th grade, my team was in a tournament game (which, for us, meant that the game was significantly shorter than regulation) and we lost 56 to 6. It was embarrassing, but we all lived. (The opposing team only had 6 players, so there was no second string. They were just really good.)


Kris November 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Good point about wondering how the kids behaved during and after the game. I am better for many, it was (and always will be), the longest games of their lives.


retirebyforty@retireby40.org November 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

The coach should have let the bench warmers play instead of running up the score that high. I don’t think the coaches should get fired or season cancel. You win some you lose some, life goes on.


Kris November 29, 2011 at 10:54 pm

RB40, the sad part it, it was the benchwarmers that played after the first 2 minutes. This team was just incredible.


20's Finances November 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I agree with retireby40 and moneyreasons – benchwarmers all the way. Hopefully it will be a great motivation for the losing team to make some changes and work harder.


Kris November 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm

20’s Finances, I think many of the kids on the Pikeville team were AAU players and general superstars. It would be great if it motivated them, but it may have the opposite effect and just be deflating. I guess time will tell.


Jim November 30, 2011 at 12:43 am

I too, live in the Pikeville area. Unlike Mr. Helfin above however, I’m not ashamed of living here. Yes, this score looks bad. Yes, I’m POSITIVE it was embarrassing to the Kimper kids, and subsequently their parents/loved ones in attendance. But the fact remains, the Pikeville coach did almost every single thing reasonable to keep it from being even worse. Think about it, you have kids on the Pikeville bench who may be getting in for their first real action in several games. Is it fair to put them in and then say “Don’t do a thing. Stand there”? What about those kids too? This is the junior high level, when winning starts meaning something (as does losing). If the coach had gone to a “4 Corners” offense, I can guarantee you there would have been people out there screaming that he didn’t give the Kimper kids a chance to score. No win situation that, I believe, he handled okay. Personally, I would have slowed the game down by mixing in 4 corners offense here and there, talked to the other team’s coach about a running clock, ANYTHING to avoid being perceived as being the bad guy here, but that is me.

I agree, perhaps scrimmaging/practicing with the kids from Kimper might be a good idea, IF they were agreeable to it, as a means of helping them become somewhat better. But to make the Pikeville boys perform community service for winning a game? It was not a crime, Mr. Helfin. Perhaps the Kimper kids need to work a little harder and get a little better? I mean, really, as the story is told, the Pikeville coach told his kids not to play defense at all in the 2nd half. If you have an ENTIRE team and none of them can hit even one uncontested shot until the final seconds, when a 6’0 8th grader FINALLY makes a layup, doesn’t that tell you something? Have you even played basketball, sir? You sound like you are trying to lay this whole thing at the feet of 11, 12, 13, 14 year old kids. They’ve not “hurt the whole community” as you insinuate. They won a game. A preseason game, at that.

I understand Mr. Helfin’s (and others) perspective here, but let’s be realistic and not lay this on these kids for this.


Kris November 30, 2011 at 9:38 am

I have watched a million soccer games where the team that is winning by a wide margin just passes the ball back and forth and the kids chase it around, and that is embarrassing too. People will be mad and frustrated no matter what.

Do you know if these two teams will still play in the regular season as scheduled??


Jim November 30, 2011 at 11:01 am

Yes, they play as scheduled. Pikeville will only play 6th and 7th graders, no 8th graders will play in the game. And I agree, playing “keep away” (effectively what it would amount to using a 4 corners offense) would have possibly been MORE humiliating to the Kimper kids. Pikeville could not win in this situation.


Kris November 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I think no matter what, Pikeville will probably win decisively. I am sure there are also other teams that Pikeville will roll over too, they just seem incredible.


Jana @ Everything Finance November 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Canceling the season accomplishes nothing. No one wins. Not the kids, not the coach, not the parents, not the town. No one. It happened and it’s over. Everyone needs to use this as a teachable moment not only for their kids but for themselves and then move on from there.


Jim December 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Update. The regular season game between these two has now been cancelled. I do not know the reason, just assuming because of the talent disparity and the acrimony generated by the publicity. Allegedly, a parent from the school where the tourney game was held has film of the game and people are trying to ask them to post to clear up exactly how much or how little Pikeville did to try and allow Kimper to score, etc. That is all I know.


Kris December 2, 2011 at 8:47 am

Jim, thanks for checking back in. I think it is good they canceled the game between the two teams- imagine the press and buildup that game would get.

I would definitely watch that tape if it went up on youtube or something. If nothing else, I want to see how talented those Pikeville kids are.


Cody Barton April 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm

kimper lost because pikeville has players in middle school that are supposed to be in high school and I play for kimper I am number 25


Kris April 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Did you get the basket??

Congrats to your team for hanging in there, it had to be a very difficult and frustrating game!


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