Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Remembering and looking forward

With the 79th LeFlore County Tournament over, it is time for some reflections and to look forward.

Another great tournament, as should be expected. Congratulations to the Heavener girls and Talihina boys the two-peat. Also, commendations are in order for the Howe girls and Poteau boys.

One of the memories I will remember from this tournament is the sad looks and misty eyes from several of the Howe girls after the finals Saturday night. It is awful hard to win two years in a row, but just as difficult to make the finals two years straight.

But with only one senior getting much playing time, look for Howe to be back again next year and win the 80th version of this tournament.

As for the boys’ winners for next year, you have to look at Poteau as the favorites. The Pirates will have most of their team back and Scott Nelke is building a heck of a program at a school which was down for a while.

A player who deserves a lot of credit is Cameron’s Ryan Carter. He suffered a broken nose in Monday’s first round against LeFlore in what some describe as a flagrant foul. I did not see what happened as it occurred just prior to my arrival.

But Carter came back the following night and played against Heavener, wearing a mask that was not quite Jasonish but awful close.

I have expressed my admiration for the new gym at Spiro before. It is the county’s best and if the LCT is held in the county, this is the best place to play. Spiro did a really good job hosting the tournament, but I have some problems with a school hosting the finals on its own court.

It isn’t really fair to the other team, of course. It should be played on a neutral court. Spiro did make it to the semis but both teams lost in overtime Friday night before winning the third-place games on Saturday.

A couple of areas that need to be addressed: All players playing in the tournament should get passes to all games and if a person pays at one site, they should be allowed to go to a game at another site without having to pay again.

Without the players, the tournament would not exist and we know the tournament makes a bunch of money for the host school, there would not be a tournament without the players.

I also found a written document at the media tournament Saturday night saying the county tournament needs format change. I have no idea who wrote the document or left it at the media table.

But the paper says the tournament should be broken into two tournaments with a large school and small school brackets with the winners of say the small-school girls playing the large-school girls in the finals and the same for the boys.

The large-school boys and girls would be Heavener, Spiro, Poteau, Panama, Talihina and Pocola. Small-school teams would be Howe, Bokoshe, Whitesboro, Wister, LeFlore, Cameron and Arkoma.

This is broken down correctly by enrollment, but Panama, Pocola, Talihina, Wister and Howe are all Class 2A schools this year.

The idea would feature championship games for the large schools and small schools on Friday with the winners of the Friday games playing Saturday for the overall championships.

There is some merit to the argument, of course. The writer pointed out that small-school Arkoma then would not have taken a 52-point loss from big-school Pocola.

That is true, but these things run in cycles. Arkoma’s girls are way down, but their eighth-grade team just won the county tournament earlier in the month. Plus, small-school Bokoshe opened the tournament by beating big-school Pocola.

One thing I have always liked about the tournament is you get to see schools play each other which typically do not play during the season. If the tournament is broken down to two divisions, you will see a bunch of teams playing teams they play during the regular season.

So I don’t see this happening, or at least hope this does not happen. If something isn’t broke, which the LCT isn’t, then there does not need to be any changes

1 comment:

  1. Craig, thanks so much for all your coverage of the tournament. It is much appreciated by those of us who don't live in the county anymore and can't get to the games.