Sportsmanship -- the good, the bad, and the uncertainFeb 21, 2012 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
It's what happens when a team gets a comfortable lead, the outcome of the game is not in doubt, and the leading team does its best to not run up the score.
The game is respected and the opposition is treated with good sportsmanship.
In baseball, it may mean blasting a double in the gap, but only running as far as first base. It also may mean not advancing to an open base on a wild pitch.
We've all seen both ends of blowout games in nearly every sport.
Monday night, during the Encampment vs. Dubois High School girls basketball game, a Dubois player was hurt, and Dubois had to play the last 12 minutes or so with only four players. In basketball, you must start a game with at least five players, but a team can finish with four or fewer.
So how did Encampment respond? The coach left five players on the court technically, but one sat just in bounds on the floor in front of her bench. The game continued, but it was four on four.
What a great, simple display of good sportsmanship.
Let's rewind a bit to last Thursday night in Casper. Here were the Riverton Lady Wolverines, who are a having a tough season by all accounts, playing the state's top-ranked team, the Natrona County High School Lady Fillies.
The game was 25-2 after the first quarter. How did Natrona respond? They pressed.
At the half, the score was 49-10. And the Lady Fillies' half-court trap was in full pressure mode in the third quarter.
But the questions about whether a team is expressing good sportsmanship are not always that simple to answer.
Also last Thursday was the story of the fantastic shooting guard, John Soundingsides, of Wyoming Indian High School. Soundingsides, when he is on, is one of the most spectacular shooters this county, and even this state, has ever seen.
During his senior night game, he was shooting and shooting his trademark, high-arching 3-point shots, and making almost every one. He made 17 threes in all, a school record, on his way to scoring 65 points, also a school record and probably a county record as well.
Final score of the game: 116-42.
But that presents interesting questions which, by the way, we don't have the answers for.
The Chiefs, you may recall, were hammered by Shoshoni 61-20 in football, and some asserted then that the Wranglers ran up the score. Double the football score, and you almost get the basketball score, in reverse.
Was this payback? Should it have been?
Also, it was senior night for Soundingsides. Should that have impacted Coach Craig Ferris's decision to leave the hot shooter on the floor in the fourth quarter during a game that was well in hand? Soundingsides was having the game of his life during his final home-court appearance, and he'll remember that game forever, as will those who got to watch.
Our reporter's account of the game recalls that fans from both teams were truly enjoying the record-setting display.
And we played into the story, too with our "65" headline in Friday's Ranger.
Interesting questions, for sure.
Let's all remember that, whenever possible, good sportsmanship should prevail.
The best news is that we get to watch the Chiefs, Cougars, Wranglers and the Wolverines all in our county this week and next.
Riverton winds down its season with two home games, both boys and girls, this Tuesday and Saturday before hosting the Class 4-A West basketball tournament the following week.
Shoshoni, Wind River and Wyoming Indian High School, both boys and girls, will be playing in Riverton during the Class 2-A West regional tournament beginning this Thursday. We've published the brackets of the 2-A regionals on page 7.
Come out and support your team.
Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!