High School Sports

Second quarter 3-pointer proves decisive

The headline of this story is the actual headline from a story that I read on
You can read it here:

Indeed, a 3-pointer in the second quarter of a Vermont high school boy’s basketball game sealed the win for Bellows Free Academy-Fairfax, who defeated Milton 5-2. That’s right – five points to two. Bellows made two baskets while Milton made a grand total of one. No foul shots were taken.

Your first thought – or at least mine – was that these were two high schools located in Vermont, not exactly a hot bed for high school basketball talent, and maybe they just aren’t all that good.

As I further read the article I learned that the final score was a result of a deliberate stalling strategy executed by both teams. Since Vermont high schools do not use a shot clock each team could hold the ball as long as they want, and they did.

According to Milton coach Jim Smith, the strategy was carried out because Bellows had a strong scoring presence while Milton did not.

“We had a shot go off the rim that would have tied it,” Smith said. “We were one possession away to tie the game. We have not been in that position for quite some time.”

Is this what sports, specifically high school athletics, has come down to?

High school coaches like Smith and Bellows coach Glen Button Jr., who I think are supposed to instill qualities that athletes will carry with them for the rest of their lives, are willing to do anything to win.

For most athletes, high school is the last place where they are not pampered for just being good at a sport, although this statement too could now be debated with the recent trend of high school seniors being drafted into the NBA. Kids even younger than that are now given projections as to where they will land in the draft.

Also for high school athletes that are gifted enough to play at the next level, be it college or the pros, the time spent in high school are the building blocks for a persons character.

What message are coaches sending to a person – forget about athlete or not – when they see it acceptable to stand on the court and pass the ball around for an entire game.

At first I found the most fault in Milton coach Smith, because he was the one that originally came up with the plan and decided to execute it. He told his team to hold onto the ball and they did, and they almost won, which was his intended goal. They only lost by three points. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. THEY ONLY SCORED TWO POINTS.

But then I thought for a second and found and equal amount of stupidity on the part of Bellows’ coach Button. His team only scored at the beginning of the first and second quarters when his team got the ball. Button could have easily ended what was called, “One of the most boring games in the world” by Bob Johnson, director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, which governs high school sports. Remember that no foul shots were taken in the game. Button could have instructed his players to foul enough times to get his team in the foul limit, and thus force Milton to the free throw line and end their plan of holding on to the ball. Instead he also, thinking about winning, let the plan go. I mean he was up 5-0, why change anything? His team won the game 5-2 after no points were scored in the second half.

This game just personifies what looks like an overall decline in the values that sports used to embody. A good team game is all I ask, and by team game I do not mean that every player gets to hold on to the ball for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, values have been compromised in order to win the most games possible, no matter how embarrassing it may look for a town or city or player.

I know if I was in high school, which was not that long ago, and I was on one of those two teams, I would never ever be able to play in a game like that. That kind of stuff has no business being in high school sports or any sports for that matter.

5-2 — an embarrassing score. But if all anyone thinks about is winning, I guess its okay.

One reply on “Second quarter 3-pointer proves decisive”

just saw this article… I heard about the game last month but just now saw the article.

Great job.

I never thought of it that way and you convinced me of your point that it was not something that should have been done in High School. Great argument and great article.

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