93-to-7 game shows ‘the difference between a coach and an educator’

It took a Massachusetts school superintendent to do what a girls basketball coach could not: apologize for running up the score in a sectional playoff game.

The East Bridgewater Lady Vikings, seeded fifth in the tourney, walked all over the 12th-seeded Madison Park Vocational High School Cardinals, 93-to-7.

Suffice it to say the game was never in doubt, which isn’t the case with what message the coach was trying to send in his game plan.

It was “an unfortunate situation,” superintendent Elizabeth Legault said. That’s school superintendent-speak for “I don’t know what coach Andrew MacDonald was thinking.”

The score was 24-to-0 after one quarter, 48-to-4 at the half.

It was 70-4 as the buzzer sounded ending the third quarter, just as East Bridgewater kicked the ball outside for a three-point basket, the Brockton Enterprise reported. Classy.

East Bridgewater maintained a full-court press into the fourth quarter with its starters still in the game.

Legault asked local media not to report the score, too embarrassed by what her school had just done.

She said the athletic director talked to the coach after the game but declined to say what was said and the coach isn’t talking.

A reporter was barred from attending a team practice to find out more.

“While not trying is not the way to go there are many ways that this could have been turned into a teaching moment. Play bench players who have sat all year supporting and encouraging their teammates. Tell your team they must make 10 passes prior to attempting a shot. Definitely take off the press,” Keith Buohl, a Bridgewater fan said on the school’s Facebook page.

“This is the difference between a coach and educator. I absolutely agree the coach should be disciplined but the administration should be held responsible too,” he wrote. “I am sure they were at the game and could have interceded. Such a sad and unnecessary situation. This is a reflection on all involved.”

“No one likes that type of score,” the school superintendent said. “I’m hoping this game will bring a thoughtful reflection from our program leaders.”

She said the score was not reflective of the student body nor the athletic program at the school.

On that point, she is entirely wrong.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)

  • Guest

    Coaches get grief from parents for not winning, from school admin for not winning, from pep rallys. Basically all the pressure IS on the win, not on the game.

    • Adults are the worst thing about youth sports.

      • Jeff C.

        My daughter was on a 10U basketball team. There were a very UN-aggressive team. Their first game was against an aggressive team that did a full-court press. The parents watching the game sat there, thinking it was sad that the other team was so aggressive. My 14 year old son found the rules, which stated that aggressive defense wasn’t allowed (there needed to be something like 3 feet between players and no full-court press by a team that is 20 points ahead (at which point the mercy-rule kicks in and they stop accumulating points until the other team scores some). He started yelling out the rule violations, in hopes that the refs would call them. They didn’t. If it was up to the kids, I bet the players would have followed the rules. Damn adults…

        • I’ll bet the refs didn’t know the rules for that league…

          • Jeff C.

            They didn’t. Nor did they know who the director of the program was. Mid-game he came into the gym, saw what was going on, and walked out on the court to talk to the refs. As he walked out, they started blowing their whistles and yelling at him to go back to the stands. He calmly explained to them, and the people watching, who he was and what was going on. The game was different after that and my daughter’s team scored! It was so fun to see how excited they were! What amazed me was she didn’t complain one bit about the score after the game. She talked about how fun it was and how she was so excited to play again next week.

          • Excellent.

            I used to be a youth sports coach for several sports and my rules for my kids was to have fun, try your hardest, be good sports, and…have fun.

  • RBHolb

    Most people who play games or sports are reminded early on about the importance of being a good sport, and not being a sore loser (usually by the people who won). No one ever talks about being a “good winner,” and not rubbing the opponent’s face in their loss. Winning must be too valuable to come with that kind of limitation.

    In college, I took up the game of Go. A book I read on the game said that it is considered good form to call your opponent’s attention a mistake they have made, and to give them a chance to correct it. The goal is to win by being a better player, not by taking advantage of an opponent’s weakness or mistakes.

    • Jeff C.

      Sounds like that would make the game of Go more fun for both players. I’ll often point out to my kids if they make a mistake playing a game or overlook a better move. If I don’t, I feel like a jerk for taking advantage of their mistake.

    • When even parents of the winning team start cringing at a youth sports event, you know you’ve crossed the line.

    • TBH

      I’ve never heard of Go, but that is how I play cribbage. If someone misses points, I will point it out to them and let them take the points. I’m not sure that is how I would handle it if my livelihood rested on the game of cribbage, but it works just fine in a friendly game.

      • Al

        I gently prod my husband that I’ll take the rest of his points until he finds them all.

      • John

        When I’m playing cribbage with my kids, I point out their missed points so they can learn.

        When I’m playing against my mom, it’s a blood sport, and if she ever missed a point in her count, you better believe I’m taking it. (not that she ever does)

  • Jeff C.

    One of my kid’s hockey coaches once refused to run up the score. Thankfully there are still some good coaches out there.

    One of my kids is going to join the Ultimate (Frisbee) team at his school. One of the important aspects of the game is The Spirit Of The Game (TM). Unsportsmanlike conduct is contrary to The Spirit of the Game and must be avoided by all players. I think you get “Spirit Points” as well as points for scoring goals. I like it!

  • >>East Bridgewater maintained a full-court press into the fourth quarter with its starters still in the game.<<

    Not cool…

    • Mike Worcester

      That jumped out at me also. Considering the half time score, there should not have been a single starter left in the game after the second half began. At least to me.

  • Gary F

    Full court press into the fourth quarter with the starters still in the game. Sheez.
    After the first quarter, let the 2nd and third string play the rest of the game. Rest up your starters for the next game, reward the 2nd string for all the hard work, and play some lower grade kids to develop next years team.

    • And he should’ve rested the starters; they lost the next game.

      • Jeff C.

        YAY!!!

      • Jack

        Karma!

  • QuietBlue

    Oh, sure, so THIS week the issue is that kids are playing too well. 🙂

    Kidding. I agree that they should have handled this differently since they were clearly going to win. I liked the idea of playing the non-starters; maybe trying some different plays could have been an option too.

  • John

    “This is the difference between a coach and educator. I absolutely agree the coach should be disciplined but the administration should be held responsible too,” he wrote. “I am sure they were at the game and could have interceded. Such a sad and unnecessary situation. This is a reflection on all involved.”

    It is indeed a sad reflection on all involved, but I think the administrator did the right thing by waiting. It’s not their job to micromanage the coach and publicly call them out. It’s their job to plan, make corrections to the plan, and take care of cleanup when somebody who they manage screws up. And that coach most definitely screwed up.