R-C Sports Notebook: Splitting sites for basketball? | RecordCourier.com

R-C Sports Notebook: Splitting sites for basketball?

by Joey Crandall

Rumor has it that a movement is afoot to split up the long-running league basketball doubleheaders at high school around the Northern 4A.

For quite some time, tip-off for girls’ varsity basketball has been approximately an hour and 45 minutes or so before the boys’ basketball game at the same site.

With the proposed change, all three boys’ teams (varsity, junior varsity and freshman) would play at the same site while all three girls’ teams would play at the opposite.

Apparently, the proposal is being driven by the boys’ coaches around the region, with the hope that the younger players in the program would all get a chance to watch the older while gaining better insight into the system each school runs.

On its surface, it seems logical. But in terms of equality among the varsity sports, it puts the girls’ teams at a tremendous disadvantage.

Anyone who has been to the first half of a varsity girls’ basketball game knows that the bleachers remain fairly bare.

As the boys’ game approaches, the stands start filling up, and by the crucial last four or five minutes of the game, the home teams gets a fairly good-sized boost from the suddenly-present home crowd.

Playing in front of a large home crowd changes things. Just ask the Douglas football team, which had to play all but two of its games on the road this season.

It may not make a lot of difference when it comes down to wins and losses, but in terms of creating a memorable atmosphere for the athletes it makes all the difference in the world.

Another argument is that the girls’ sport has grown enough to be able to sustain itself with the boys’ at the opposite site.

To that, I would submit this: Take a look at the crowds at volleyball, a standalone fall sport. They traditionally are quite sparse, small enough to be supported by just one side of the bleachers in the Douglas gym ” and that is for one of the most successful programs in the state.

Take away at least a quarter of the crowd that does show up, because that generally is made up of students at the school, many of whom are members of the football team, and you have suitable representation of what you’d be looking at for girls’ basketball games next season.

Numerically, it may be enough to sustain the cost of hosting an event, but emotionally, it’s a pretty meager representation that will be backing the home team.

The issue will be voted on at the statewide athletic director’s meeting during the spring state playoffs in Las Vegas in three weeks. Let’s hope enough athletic directors around the area take a good look at what they would be doing to one of the major team sports at their schools if they approve such a measure.

The Douglas High School athletic handbook reads “Always keep in mind when you put on a Douglas High School uniform, you not only represent yourself but your coach, you school, your family and your community.”

Let’s hope that we can remind the varsity athletes at the school that this community will do its best to represent them as well.

Douglas is attempting to host at least part of the regional baseball playoffs, which start next week.

School administrators have tendered a request to host at least one bracket of the tournament, which may be greatly bolstered should Douglas end up winning the Sierra League title (The Tigers can make it automatic with a sweep of North Valleys this week, or with two wins and a Damonte Ranch loss to Carson).

The school would be looking at moving bleachers in behind the backstop and along the newly-created spectator territory down the left field line.

NIAA officials expect hosting school to be able to accommodate at least 700 spectators.

Needless to say, that would be a huge boost to the Tigers, who have been nearly flawless at home over the last 12 games, with two minor trip-ups last week.

The deep gaps in right and left are tailored directly to Douglas’ line-drive happy lineup and the Tiger outfielders have become experts at patrolling the defensively-generous dimensions of the park.

It’s a long shot, but if granted, could be a big step forward for the program.

In the last five years, head coach John Glover has turned Tiger Field into a class establishment with a classic wood fence, state-of-the-art bullpens, locker facilities and that fantastic old-fashioned manual scoreboard.

All it has been lacking is a traditional grandstand where spectators could get a good view of the game, but word is that will be fixed this summer with stadium seating and a new backstop. We’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.

Anyone looking to see the rapid rise of an athletic program should keep an eye on Damonte Ranch these next couple of years.

The Mustangs are drawing on an exceptional pool of talent, grasping from previous Wooster- and Galena-bound students and have hired the coaching staff to be solid across the board.

Damonte won its first league, regional and state titles this fall with its exceptional volleyball team, fielded a surprisingly competitive football team in its first year of varsity play and features a growing basketball program.

The true diamond, not to speak in puns or anything, may be the baseball team.

They have strong pitching, they can hit the cover off the ball and they don’t make many mistakes.

The Mustangs took two games from Douglas last weekend, handing the Tigers their only series loss so far this season.

It doesn’t get much easier in softball. The Mustangs have quietly worked their way into second place in both sports and both are built with enough youth to make a serious run for the league title in the coming years.

Nate Whalin, sr., baseball and Blake Maxwell, swimming: Whalin was instrumental in Douglas’ 12-2 win over Damonte Ranch in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday, hitting a double and a home run with four RBIs. He picked up his fifth win of the season on the mound while striking out two and allowing four hits. Maxwell was in on a number of relay wins and had an individual win in Douglas’ defeat of Reed Saturday.