By Joel Alderman
It’s hard to believe! In fact it’s almost impossible to believe! A girls high school basketball game in southern California last week (Jan. 5th) had a final score of 161-2, and the sparks are still flying, amid allegations of bad sportsmanship and poor ethics.
Bloomington High School, 51 miles from Los Angeles, had already lost a game by 91 points this season, while the Hawks of Arroyo Valley, located in San Bernardino, also close to Los Angeles (60 miles), won four times by 98, 81, 74 and 73 points. Not exactly promising prospects for a close game.
Arroyo Valley is coached by Michael Anderson. In the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Louis Brewster wrote that, although there should be no doubt that Anderson’s an excellent girls basketball coach, he is now the center of “controversy, scrutiny, questioning, character assassination, debate and name-calling.”
The mother of mismatches
There were sure signs that a mismatch would occur. But 161-2?
Even more incomprehensible is that 161 was not an all time record for points scored in a California girls high school game.
In 1982, Riverside Poly defeated Norte Vista, also of Riverside, 179-15. Cheryl Miller, sister of the Indiana Pacer great, Reggie Miller, and regarded one of the greatest players in women’s basketball history, scored an astounding 105 points.
Obviously, they have taken girls basketball seriously in California for a long time. Not much has changed in 32 years.
The coaches speak
Back to the game which is the subject of this article, the Bloomington losing coach, Dale Chung, remarked that “People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team. They should feel sorry for his (Anderson’s) team, which isn’t learning the game the right way.”
Chung said that Arroyo Valley (14-1) played a full-court press for the entire first half, which ended with the score 104-1.
“We only got the ball past half court maybe four or five times in the first half,” Chung said.
Anderson denied in the Riverside Press-Enterprise that he had his Arroyo Valley team use a full court press in the second half.
Chung’s answer to that was “they half-court trapped us, though, so what’s the difference?’
Anderson did try to get the officials to use a running clock starting in the third quarter, but they did not do that until the fourth.
The girls use a shot clock in California
Anderson also said in the second half he told his team not to attempt a basket until seven seconds remained on the shot clock, and “I didn’t play any starters in the second half.”
He added, “I didn’t expect them (Bloomington) to be that bad. I’m not trying to embarrass anybody. And I didn’t expect my bench to play that well. I had one (bench) player make eight of nine threes.”
He said “The game just got away from me.” (San Bernardino Sun)
Chung’s retort was that “I’ve known him for about seven years. … He’s a great Xs and Os coach. Ethically? Not so much. He knows what he did was wrong.”
Was the winning coach too embarrassed to report the score?
Perhaps embarrassed by the debacle, the winning coach said he did not report the score to any newspaper. However, pictures of the scoreboard showing the final score were posted on the team’s Facebook page, which was taken down a few days later.
The Athletic Directors didn’t like it
The Athletic Director at Bloomington High School, Chris Brickley, felt “they crossed the line, although I don’t think Arroyo Valley agrees with that.”
But his counterpart, the Arroyo Valley AD, Matt Howell, told the Press-Enterprise, “I have had a conversation with my coach about it, and that kind of thing. It’s not going to happen again.”
Chung, who is in his first year as coach of the Bloomington Bruins, said he is proud of his team because the ugly game did not affect them, although he conceded that “it should affect them a little.”
Anderson said he was reprimanded during a meeting at the school three days after the game. However, he expects to continue to coach the team.
It would be great if Arroyo Valley’s future contests can be a lot more competitive.