I decided to venture out and catch a WIAA high school basketball game on Friday night, so I made the drive down HWY 41 to Kaukauna to catch the Ghosts home game against FVA rival Appleton East.
The Ghosts pretty much controlled the game after Appleton East struggled to shoot the ball well. Kaukauna won the game 43-26.
What made this night eventful, or perhaps uneventful, was the way the game ended.
With about 3 1/2 minutes left in the game and Kaukauna leading by the final margin of 43-26, the Ghosts crossed center court and decided to sit on the clock. They were going to make Appleton East come out and play them or they would simply hold the ball out high.
Never did I think East wouldn’t come out and force Kaukauna to play offense, so I didn’t turn my video camera on right away. But I assure you it started with more than 3 1/2 minutes left. When I finally realized East wouldn’t come out and play, I turned on the video camera to show you the final couple of awkward moments.
If you’ve played or witnessed enough basketball, this kind of thing goes on in basketball. Without a shot clock, there’s nothing forcing the offense to move the ball, well, other than the defense. But normally the trailing team gives in, extends the defense and fans see back and forth action for the final few minutes.
Is it sportsmanlike to sit on the clock for nearly 4 minutes? Probably not, but the Ghosts earned that right when they out-played East for the first 3 1/2 quarters. Should East have come out and played? Probably. Two wrongs don’t make a right. This was an awkward finish, one that I’m sure will soon be forgotten by most.
This could have been avoided by a shot clock in high school basketball? It’s 2014. Time to move out of the dark ages and pick up the tempo of play. What’s wrong with having to shoot at least every 30 to 35 seconds?
I know there’s added cost of the shot clock itself and then paying somebody to run it. I’m sure the schools can figure it out. Last night’s awkward finish would have been avoided.
Of course last night would have also been avoided if one team wouldn’t have stalled with nearly four minutes left in the game and the other team wouldn’t have refused to play, in effect, taking their ball and going home. It’s BAD FORM by both. It’s not about coaches with an axe to grind, it’s about the kids and the fans.
I’ve attached the final couple of minutes in the following video for you to see for yourself.