Herald Journal Columns
Feb. 7, 2005, Herald Journal

Let's run the score up

By Aaron Schultz

Apparently winning just isn’t enough anymore, you have to actually try to humiliate your opponents now-a-days.

That was my first reaction when I looked at the front page of Thursday’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and not the front page of the sports, but the actual front page.

The headline read “Shots just fall, fall, fall on his 90-point night.”

The story then goes on to tell how Minnesota Transitions, a charter high school out of Minneapolis, beat Community of Peace 153-69 Wednesday.

The story of the game was that senior Cash Eggleston scored 90 points, breaking the Minnesota State High School single game scoring record.

Norm Grow owned the old record, scoring 70 points back in 1958 for Foley.

Besides shattering the scoring mark, Eggleston also broke the record for most 3-pointers hit in a game, with 20. The old record was 11.

The third record broken in the game was for most points scored in a game, with 153.

The old record was 146 points by Atwater in 1958.

My question is this – who goes out and looks to break such records, and has no regard for the kids on the other side of the court?

The last time I checked, high school basketball in Minnesota was not the same as Division I college football.

You still see it in college football, where teams will run up the score, in order, hopefully, to get more votes in the poll.

In college football, I don’t like seeing it, but I can understand it, somewhat.

But, in high school basketball, at least the last time I checked, you don’t get a higher seed in your section, or an automatic berth in the state tournament, by beating up lesser teams.

That is why you almost always see, in blow out games, the coaches substituting with younger, or junior varsity kids when the game is well in hand.

I can recall a time, this year, when each of the three high school boys’ basketball teams

I cover could have really run up the score on an opponent, but didn’t.

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers’ head coach Merrill Skinner, Lester Prairie Bulldogs’ head coach Brian Korf, and Holy Trinity of Winsted’s head coach Dean Neumann all have had their chance this year to really run up a score.

Yet, all three, Skinner, Korf, and Neumann, have either slowed the game down, or took out starters in order to not just run the score up for the heck of it, as well as to get some other players playing time.

And here is where I really point my criticism of this game towards Minnesota Transitions’ head coach John Sherman.

Ahead 96-35 at halftime, Sherman kept his kids out there, running and gunning in the third quarter, even though they were up by 61 points.

In a quote from Eggleston in the Star Tribune story, he said that Sherman told him that if he was hot at the beginning of the game, they would shoot for the record.

Well, Eggleston scored 39 points in the first quarter, and shoot for the record they did.

As a coach, myself, this is something I just can’t see doing.

While Sherman and his Minnesota Transitions team left a sour taste in my mouth after reading the story, the Community of Peace head coach Dan Kuss picked me up.

In the story, Kuss congratulated Sherman and his team for their efforts, and never said a bad word about them, at least in the story.

Kuss, who played high school basketball for Fairfax in the ‘70s, showed a lot more restraint than I would have.

For argument sake, say I was the coach of Community of Peace – and just for argument sake, ‘cause I’m pretty sure I would be a horrible basketball coach.

I would have been more than a little upset with the score getting run up on my kids, and I would have been sure to let Sherman know what I thought.

Still, I would have congratulated Eggleston for his accomplishment, since it was his coach who gave him the go-ahead to keep on shooting, and not his fault.

Okay, so maybe I am overreacting on this whole situation, and maybe there were other circumstances that went into this that I am just not seeing.

But, I just can’t rationalize why someone goes out and tries to embarrass some high school kids.

I guess if you can get yourself on the front of the Minneapolis newspaper, then it is alright. Right?