What happens when one high school girls’ basketball team comes to compete, and the other team doesn’t? If your team loses to the other, the coach for the winning team is made the victim. We’ve seen this sort of ridiculous thing before when a sports team is severely punished for achievement, and it’s never a pretty outcome.
Sacred Heart Academy was undefeated, ranked third in Connecticut. At halftime, it was 56-0. It was 80-0 at the end the third period. The game ended 92-4. Lyman Hall High School’s Lyman Hall High School will be his next opponent and Coach Jason Kirck won’t play.
Based on what Sacred Heart Academy’s president said, one would assume Coach Kirck had committed a serious crime. Sr. Sheila O’Neill, the school’s president, blamed her own school for exhibiting poor sportsmanship.:
“Sacred Heart Academy values the lessons taught and cultivated through athletic participation, including ethical and responsible behavior, leadership and strength of character and respect for one’s opponents. Last night’s Girls’ Basketball game vs Lyman Hall High School does not align with our values or philosophies. Sacred Heart Academy Administration and Athletics are profoundly sorry for how the outcome was achieved. We are in communication with Lyman Hall High School, the Southern Connecticut Conference and CIAC, and are addressing these concerns internally to ensure that our athletic programs continue to encourage personal, physical and intellectual growth.”
In other words, Sacred Heart, the next time you play Lyman Hall, leave your “A” Game at home.
After taking a berating from all sides, Coach Kirck said he was “deeply remorseful for the manner through with [sic]The game’s outcome was determined.
Lyman Hall Coach Tom Lipka was enraged and said his foes “showed no mercy throughout” at all during the game. He told CTInsider via email:
“Sacred Heart pressed for most of the first half then called it off and went into a tight man-to-man half court defense trying to get steals. They sped up the game to the very end. They didn’t get into any zone, and they continued pushing the ball up and shooting threes whenever possible. They showed no mercy throughout.”
The Lyman Hall coach went on WFSB-TV and accused his rival of “unsportsmanlike” conduct and running up the score.
Pressing is Sacred Heart’s game, but if another team repeatedly can’t get back quickly enough to stop the fastbreak, that’s on them. Furthermore, how can a school employ a coach who can’t prepare a team any better than this? This makes it sound like Coach Lipka was given a free pass for being an inept coach.
Sport teaches character, as well as painful lessons. Coaches who are unhappy about losing too often need to take responsibility for the team’s poor performances. When a blowout is inevitable, other coaches should be ready to pull their starters. Just blaming the winning side doesn’t seem right.