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Almost a hoops shutout


I’ve been covering high school basketball as a writer/photographer for 30-plus years, and I’ve seen a lot of bizarre plays, fights, and one-sided games. But Friday night, I saw something new.

Along the way, I’ve seen a lot of scoreless quarters and even a few scoreless halves. But I’ve never seen a team go almost two minutes into the fourth quarter before scoring.

That happened to the Elsie Allen girls on Friday in their game against Sonoma.

By the time Elsie put their first points on the board at the 6:21 mark of the fourth quarter, Sonoma had a 44-0 lead, and the teams had been playing with a running clock since the 3:10 mark of the third quarter when the Lady Dragons scored their 40th point.

I wasn’t even sure what the criterion for using a running clock in a basketball game, so I had to ask official scorer Mario Alioto after the game. Only then did I find out it was a 40-point lead that triggered the running clock.

But the Elsie girls never gave up and there was a loud cheer from their bench and their few fans when the Lobos finally scored.

There’s not much you can say about a game like that. You feel sorry for the team that on the wrong side of a bludgeoning.

Friday night, Lady Dragon Coach Jann Thorpe was running five girls at a time into the game. And she said later that the team doesn’t get a lot out of a game that’s as lopsided as that one was.

“You don’t want to be unsportsmanlike and run up the score or be too aggressive, yet at the same time we don’t gain anything from just sitting back and let them shoot uncontested shots,” she said later.

For a couple of years in Sullivan, Illinois, back in the late 1980s, I covered a girls team that regularly blew their opponents out of the gym, and a year after I left, they won the state title in their class. But even they never shut anyone out for almost 28 minutes.

Well, my fantasy football season is over, and I finished in the middle of a 10-team league. I was hoping for a break-out season this year since I started following it a lot closer and made more moves than I have in past years.

But it was all to no avail. I probably wouldn’t have done much worse if I had done nothing.

I had four different tight ends end up on the injured reserve list. At one point, the highest rated tight end was the 49ers’ Vance McDonald who I had to pick up, only to see him tear an MCL in the very next game.

At one point, I started stockpiling quarterbacks thinking that in the waning weeks, there’s bound to be an injury and I could trade Andy Dalton or Kirk Cousins for a defensive player who might get me a couple of extra points and propel me into fourth place.

When the Raiders’ Derek Carr got injured, I went looking to see if whomever had him was interested in another quarterback. Unfortunately, this other owner had also been stockpiling QBs and wasn’t even starting Carr.

I was destined for fifth place to go with my fifth-place finish in fantasy baseball.

Oh well, maybe I’ll do better next time, after all my fantasy curling draft is coming up this weekend.