Oh mercy, lopsided scores call for change


It’s time to consider a high school basketball mercy rule in Colorado.

Lopsided scores have been frequent this season, especially in girls games, and some of those blowout scores were evident in the first two rounds of the girls and boys state playoffs.

The Colorado High School Activities Association board of directors has sent out a survey to member schools to determine whether there is interest in establishing a mercy rule. The change would mean a running clock if a team were to get down by a certain number of points, possibly 30 or more, in the second half of a regular-season or playoff game.

Early rounds of Class 5A playoff games show there is merit to this idea.

The average margin of victory in 16 opening-round girls game was 22.6 points, with 52-, 37- and 33-point wins among the most lopsided. Second-round games were closer with an average victory margin of 20.3 points, but there were two 48-point wins and a 41-point rout.

Following a first-round bye, the top-ranked Highlands Ranch girls opened the 5A playoffs with a 48-point victory. During the season, the Falcons enjoyed victories by scores of 94-28, 88-19 and 90-35, just to name a few blowouts.

Victory margins in boys first-round games were tighter with a 16.3 margin of victory. However, there were two 30-point victories. The second-round average victory gap was 15.3 points.

In the 4A boys and girls competition, the victory margins were smaller in the first two rounds, but there were a combined six games that were decided by 30 or more points. Valor Christian’s girls won their opener by a 54-point margin — which included a 29-4 lead after the first quarter — over Fort Morgan on Feb. 26.

I’m all in favor of anything that can help get these lopsided games over with more quickly. Having top teams pile on the points only adds to the embarrassment for the losing squads, many of which are simply at a major talent disadvantage.

Lutheran standout more than scoring leader

Kristen Vigil has played basketball at Lutheran High School in Parker for four seasons, but this is the first time she has led the Lions in scoring.

Still, the 5-foot-8 senior, became the school’s career scoring leader when she registered 13 points in Lutheran’s 67-23 win over Jefferson Academy Feb. 25 in a district tournament.

Vigil tallied 25 points in a 58-47 triumph over Faith Christian in the district finals Feb. 27 and now has 1,058 points to break the old career scoring mark of 1,031 held by Meshach Rhodes from 1993-97.

“Kristen has really evolved as a player throughout her career,” said coach Mark Duitsman. “She has always been an outstanding perimeter shooter, but over the years she has developed the ability to score in many other ways. Her scoring earns her a lot of publicity but I’ve always thought it’s her on-the-ball defense that makes her a standout basketball player.

“It’s amazing how many deflections and steals she gets while also keeping a low foul count. What I’ve been most pleased with this season is how she has taken that aggressiveness to the boards and it is not uncommon for her to lead us in rebounds on any given night.”

Graham moving to Grandview

Rob Graham, who has been Ponderosa’s head volleyball coach for 16 seasons and compiled a 171-79 record during the past nine campaigns, has accepted the position as the head volleyball coach at Grandview.

Graham’s Mustangs won the 4A state championship in 2009, were the state runners-up in 2014 and twice finished third.

Hall of Fame coaches at Littleton

Littleton will have a baseball team to watch in the Jeffco 4A League this spring with a legendary coaching staff.

Bob Bote — who graduated in 1971 from Littleton, where he was a three-sport letterman — is the Lions’ new head coach, and he will have former Eaton mentor Jim Danley as his pitching coach.

Bote won 459 games and five state championships at Niwot, and has also been an assistant coach at Erie and Faith Christian.

Danley compiled an 807-163-2 record with 11 state championships at Eaton as Colorado’s winningest baseball coach, but was ousted last fall for not signing a 13-point improvement plan than was drawn up by the school board. He’s a friend of Bote’s and the two were rival coaches in summer games.

Don’t be surprised to see Littleton pitchers start throwing knuckle curves, a pitch Danley had his pitchers use at Eaton. It is really a standard curve thrown with one or more fingers bent to provide a better grip on the ball, which results in a tighter spin and more movement.

Littleton teams have gone 46-103 over the past eight seasons, but the Lions were 11-9 in 2015, and seven pitchers from a year ago who saw varsity action were underclassmen.

Dowis takes over at Castle View

Scott Dowis, a first-year business teacher at Castle View who coached high school volleyball for eight years in Kansas, was introduced as the new head coach for the Sabercats’ volleyball program.

Spring is here

Official spring practice for baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys swimming, girls tennis and boys and girls track began Feb. 29. The first contests can start March 10.


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