BENNETT'S MINUTES: Recent incidents deserve firm, swift IHSAA action
The Indiana High School Athletic Association has a well-intentioned sportsmanship campaign that recognizes individual schools with banners and athletes with special awards from their schools for positive behavior.
According to the ihsaa.org website, the campaign goal is to “Thank you for your continued commitment to promote good sportsmanship among the members of your school community — administrators, coaches, parents, fans, the student body and, of course, your school’s student-athletes.”
Everyone is also reminded to “keep an eye out for some of the great sportsmanship reminders at their high school.”
That’s a great thing. Sad that it’s necessary, but it is.
Also sad is the fact that the IHSAA also needs to be informed about bad behavior by its teams, coaches and athletes — and then needs to do something about it.
Three incidents of the past couple of weeks come to mind immediately as ones needing punishment:
• In the Greencastle-Benton Central girls’ sectional game last week, two actions by Bison players surely would violate the goals of the aforementioned program.
The first came during free throw attempts by a Greencastle player, and coach Tod Windlan had called the rest of his team over for a “free” timeout. Twice early in the game, the same Bison player drifted from her spot waiting near midcourt and entered the Tiger Cub huddle.
Windlan understandably protested to the nearest official, but nothing was done. I’m not even sure much could be done; I seriously doubt this is covered in the rule book that is far more worried about the color of someone’s undershirt or leg undergarments than actual game-related things.
Just moments later, a different Bison player (I know their numbers, in case the IHSAA wants to do anything) hit a 3-pointer — her team’s first after 11 straight misses.
This player decided it was necessary to stop in front of the Greencastle bench and hold up three fingers in front of Windlan’s face, to remind him of how many points she just scored.
Windlan brushed that one off, saying later that he told her to “keep shooting” since she wasn’t making very many of them.
• The other one, for which I was not present, happened (on good authority) during the Western Boone-North Montgomery regular-season finale a few days before the start of the sectional.
WeBo star Madison Jones was just a few points short of hitting the 2,000-point mark in her final home game.
I suppose I can ignore the fact that they left her in the game until getting that milestone, despite their huge lead, so she could do it on senior night in front of her home crowd.
The video of the historic free throw showed it made the score something like 64-16 in her team’s favor.
The bad part is that Jones was left in the game at that point, her team continued pressing while up by approximately 50 points, made numerous steals and threw the ball to her so she could climb higher on the state scoring list.
I have zero time for that.
The two Benton Central incidents seem to be consistent with the behavior of that school’s players, coaches and fans. Did they truly hurt anyone’s feelings? Nope. What could have happened was that a Greencastle player could have intentionally (or not) committed a serious foul in retaliation.
Not surprisingly, they are far above that level of behavior and nothing else happened. But it could have.
For the Western Boone thing, the same result was possible but also didn’t happen.
There is zero lesson to be learned from continuing to press and trap and force turnovers in a game that is already won.
What should happen?
Nobody should be suspended or anything, but the IHSAA needs to stay consistent with its message and at least talk to these people — if the school isn’t going to do it. (Wouldn’t be necessary if I had a daughter playing and she did either of those actions; we would have been in the car on the way home long before the game actually ended.)
Someone needs to explain to the people involved why what they did is wrong, and encourage them not to do it again. Schools with multiple or more serious violations should be put on probation, and if things don’t stop they should be banned from competing.
While they’re at it, the IHSAA also needs to authorize/encourage game officials to have the power to end games immediately which are decided, the seconds are ticking down and the players start walking off the floor with 20 seconds left.
When an official hears a coach say “Don’t foul,” it’s over. Coaches should be able to say “We’re done” or something to indicate they don’t want to finish it out.
Similar bad acts can happen if a player on the winning team tries to score a basket just to run up the score.
And, no, it’s not being a quitter — baseball and softball have the 10-run rule.
Rules exist to keep people from doing dumb or bad things. Let’s make/enforce ones like these.
Girls’ basketball post-season
Monrovia 50, Cascade 47
South Putnam 67, North Putnam 31
Western Boone 51, Monrovia 50
Cloverdale 68, South Putnam 62
Western Boone 62, No. 8 Cloverdale 56
Crawfordsville 64, Southmont 53
No. 7 Benton Central 57, Greencastle 43
Lebanon 66, Crawfordsville 53
No. 7 Benton Central 64, North Montgomery 24
Benton Central 50, Lebanon 15
Covenant Christian (18-8) vs. Western Boone (16-9)
Triton Central (23-1) vs. Winchester (23-3)
Benton Central (23-4) vs. Indianapolis Chatard (16-9)
Danville (20-5) vs. Northview (16-9)