This head-turning 85-3 girls basketball game showed the challenges of blowouts

Updated Feb 05, 2018
Lakota West’s Abby Prohaska (32) looks for an open teammate during a Division I district final against Tecumseh at Harrison on Feb. 27, 2016. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

The score likely caused some double-takes around Southwest Ohio.

Lakota West High School’s girls basketball team went on the road and defeated Colerain 85-3 on Saturday afternoon. The Firebirds beat the Cardinals 91-18 last month.

And now the Greater Miami Conference foes will almost certainly meet again in the Division I sectional tournament. West (19-1) opens against Withrow (2-15), with the winner getting the Cardinals (0-19).

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“We don’t choose who we play in terms of our league games,” Firebirds coach Andy Fishman said. “I give Colerain’s coaches and their girls a whole lot of credit because they played hard (Saturday). They just really struggle to put the ball in the basket, and sometimes they struggle to pass the ball beyond a defender.”

The numbers bear that out. The Cardinals committed 42 turnovers. They made 1 of 24 field goals (that’s 4.2 percent) and 1 of 3 free throws.

Fishman used 13 players and 10 scored. The most minutes (20) went to University of Notre Dame-bound senior Abby Prohaska.

Certainly there are some observers who feel 85-3 is an uncalled-for happening. Fishman said he did what he could to hold the score down, but he wasn’t going to tell his players to stop playing.

“Every player who wears a uniform deserves an opportunity to play,” Fishman said. “It’s an insult to their dedication and commitment, to the sport and to our program, to tell a young lady that even though you maybe haven’t scored a point all season or maybe you’ve only scored a couple, you’re not allowed to shoot the basketball.

“We did what we thought was the best thing to do and played as if we had a shot clock. We could drop back into a zone, which we did … if anybody knows Lakota West girls basketball, we don’t play a lot of zone. We’re not out to embarrass anybody by playing keep-away and by not playing defense. That would be undignified and a lack of class. Class is playing the game the right way, yet playing a little less aggressively as the game went on, which is what we did.”

Saturday’s contest wasn’t Colerain’s first single-digit performance of the season. The Cardinals lost to Mason 70-3, Princeton 81-6 and McAuley 69-7.

Similar results won’t be as likely in the tournament, thanks to this new Ohio High School Athletic Association rule for postseason play:

“Any time a score differential reaches 35 points during the second half, a running clock shall be utilized. After the 35-point score differential has been met but the score drops below 30 points, the clock reverts to regular NFHS timing (this eliminates timing issues in a faster-paced contest). The clock shall be stopped only for an injured player on the court or when there is any unusual delay deemed necessary by the officials.”