A GRIP ON SPORTS
Spent last night in a high school gym covering a high school basketball game. Seems as if I've spent a lot of my life in high school gyms attending high school basketball games. And seems is reality in this case. Read on.
• As I watched Central Valley's boys rally in the second half of their opening District 8 playoff game with Lewis and Clark, I was struck with one thought. High school basketball games haven't changed all that much since the early 1970s, when I started watching them with intensity. Yes, the 3-point line has been added. And yes, the shorts are longer – but the hair is shorter. And there are three officials instead of two. But the atmosphere is still basically the same. There are still the clueless folks in the stands yelling clueless things at the officials at the top of their lungs – as I was once one of these idiots, I think I can criticize – either thinking they are funny or that their opinion is right, no matter how often they are wrong. There are still bands (and, surprisingly enough, the songs are often the same). There are still the coaches who like to yell, the ones who use a quieter form of exhortation and those who sprinkle in both. And there are still the postgame embraces between players and friends, parents and children, students in the stands. It still means a lot. Yes, I know crowds are down at high school events, but don't tell me it was always better. I can remember an early season game during my friend's senior year (it was late 1972, his parents had moved to another state, so he moved in with our family so he could play his last year at Pasadena High). The only folks in attendance watching PHS, a school of around 4,000 students, were the two stats girls and myself. There might have been a parent or two but I don't remember any. The other team, another big high school, was hosting and had a handful or two of parents watching. That was it. Two bad teams, you say? No, Doug's PHS team had made the CIF finals the year before, would again that season and had four starters who would play Division I basketball (including George Tucker, who had a pretty impressive career at Oregon State). Last night's crowd, on Valentine's Day of all things, was pretty darn good. And those in attendance got their money's worth.
• Have to add this note once again. The weekly news quiz is calling you. I can hear it. And you want to go, because the prize is, and once again let me get this right by quoting directly from the e-mail I received, “We'll be doing two random drawings on Friday: Two entrants will each win two tickets to the golf show. And the overall quiz champ wins a $50 (gift certificate) to the Davenport Hotel.” Just click here and take the quiz. You don't have to get the questions right, the drawing includes all those who participate.
• Preps: We'll lead with Tuesday night preps because a) one of the stories is mine; and b) let's face it, this is all about me. We did cover the boys last night and you can read the story if you like. Greg Lee covered the girls 4A playoffs (the photos at right and above are of that game and are the work of Christopher Anderson), wrote this story on CV's relatively easy win and then did all the other prep pieces. … When Bellevue's football coach, Butch Goncharoff, decided to apply for a head coaching position at a California powerhouse, he said he didn't think it would be a big deal. It is.
• Washington State: Christian Caple covered Ken Bone's press conference yesterday (the video of which is at the bottom of this section) and wrote a blog post. He also has this morning's post with a bunch of links and this story on new Cougar offensive line coach Clay McGuire. … I remember this play and was hoping beyond hope the Cougars would use it in a game so I could throw the safety who missed the tackle under the bus. His teammates drove it over him again and again after practice that day. … WSU opens the 2012 football season at BYU, part of an improved schedule for the other Cougars. … A really interesting story from Bob Condotta in the Times on the recruiting of Shaq Thompson. … Finally, the “Friday Night Lights” movie script is about done and Mike Leach is mentioned prominently.
• Here is the video from Bone's press conference, courtesy of WSU …
• Gonzaga: It's a complaint that you hear around Spokane from time to time. The Zags can't defend the 3. Well, Jim Meehan took a look at the reality behind that assertion in his blog post yesterday and notebook that ran in today's paper. … Will the WCC have three teams in the NCAA tournament? It may be up to BYU, which is worried about USF this week. … Notre Dame is looking more and more like one of GU's better victories.
• Idaho: Nothing from the Vandals today, but Utah State did win a nonconference breather last night.
• Whitworth: The Pirates lost one game during the NWC regular season. They avenged that defeat last night in Walla Walla, defeating Whitman 81-74.
• That's our report for today. We'll be on the radio this afternoon at 3 p.m. and you can listen here if you like. Until later …