Wooster deserves credit
Carson High fans might want to stop and thank Wooster coach Mike Anderson and the rest of the Colts tonight before Carson steps onto the basketball floor for tonight’s 5:15 p.m. Northern 4A Division II girls basketball game between the two teams.
The Colts (2-2) deserve a warm greeting not just because they defeated Reno High last Saturday in a huge upset which allowed the Senators to pull within one-half game of first-place in the division standings.
Wooster really deserves credit for helping Northern Nevada basketball fans avoid being subjugated to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association tie-breaking procedures which could have caused some unusual scenarios when Reno (4-1) plays at Carson (3-1) next Tuesday.
As it stands now (barring any upsets tonight), the winner of Tuesday’s match-up between the Huskies and Senators will take over first-place in Division II simply because the winning team will have the fewest losses in the division.
But if the Colts hadn’t upset Reno last weekend, Reno would have entered Tuesday’s game with no losses and Carson would have entered the game with one loss – a 50-36 defeat at the hands of the Huskies on Jan. 7.
With the NIAA’s current system of breaking ties within divisions, the only way for Carson to overtake Reno in the standings (assuming both teams won all of their remaining division games and each finished with one loss) would be for the Senators to beat Reno by 15 points or more.
On the surface, that tie-breaking procedure sounds logical, kind of like European soccer, where goal differential is often used in breaking ties. But in high school basketball, the point differential system of breaking ties creates some odd, unsportsmanlike scenarios. Consider what might happen if:
— Carson leads Reno by 10 points late in the fourth quarter? Would Reno consider stalling just to insure that the margin of the Senators victory would be less than 14?
— If the Senators were ahead of the Huskies by 13 points late in the fourth, would they consider fouling the Reno players to send them to the free-throw line, hoping for a miss and a chance to increase their lead?
Donnie Nelson, the Sports Information Director for the NIAA, said he has not heard about either of those scenarios occurring.
“That’s the coach’s decision to choose their best philosophy,” Nelson said. “If they want to adopt that philosophy, that’s their choice.”
To his credit, Carson coach Paul Croghan chose to have his Senators go for the win when they played Reno on Jan. 7. Even though Carson could have slowed the game down and possibly lost by fewer than 10 points, Carson continued to foul the Reno players, hoping for missed free throws and an opportunity to get back in the game.
Even though the NIAA knows of no instances of teams playing for the tie-breaker rather than the win, the potential is there for some strange situations and the point-differential tie-breaker needs to be examined in the future.
For now, thank goodness, Wooster broke up the Division II standings and – hopefully – we won’t have to resort to the NIAA tiebreaker this season. Unless, of course, Wooster pulls off another upset tonight.
— The NIAA gave a big boost to the sport of alpine skiing last month when it gave official “state championship” status to the sport. But the NIAA made a big gaffe when it failed to give teams from the Tahoe Basin Ski League – which includes NIAA schools Douglas, South Tahoe, Tahoe-Truckee, Whittell, Incline and North Tahoe – a chance to compete for the state title.
“They never contacted us at all,” said Bob Milani, the Tahoe Basin Ski League coordinator. “We’ve never been invited to participate.”
What will probably prevent the Tahoe Basin schools from ever competing with the Nevada Ski Racing League schools are the different rules concerning Far West competition. The Tahoe Basin rules are liberal; in fact Megan Genong, a U.S. Ski Team member (C level) competes for North Tahoe.
A possible solution might be to have the winner of the Nevada Ski Racing League compete against the first-place team from the Tahoe Basin League for a true “state championship.”
“That would be nice, but I don’t see it happening,” Milani said. “In our own minds, we believe we know who would win.”
— Buried in the results last week from the Sparks Invitational wrestling tournament was the fact that Carson defeated perennial Northern 4A power Wooster as well as two strong Idaho schools, Caldwell and Payette, while placing second in the tournament. What was surprising was the team’s best performance of the season came just two days after a disappointing outing against Fallon and Galena which resulted in two dual-meet losses.
“I think the kids felt like the coaches and were embarrassed by our performance in the dual meets,” said Carson coach Tim McCarthy. “Our four captains (Doug Books, Justin Shine, Justin Sarnowski, Branden Lamborn) set the tone for the team at Sparks; they had taken those losses (against Fallon and Galena) pretty hard. Plus, we had several other good performances turned in by other wrestlers.”
Carson will try to make it two successful tournaments in a row this weekend as the team travels to Albany, Calif., for a 24-team tourney.
Erick Studenicka is a sports writer for the Nevada Appeal.