At the start of each basketball season, invitational tournaments cobble together teams for competitions that occasionally pit teams that are title contenders but more often create some desperate mismatches. One girls basketball tournament in Arkansas delivered more of the latter, with one game descending into an all-time blowout.
As reported by Little Rock CBS affiliate THV, the Little Rock (Ark.) Hall High girls basketball team shut out it's Little Rock (Ark.) Fair High counterpart by the overwhelming score of 88-0 in the season's first game. Incredibly, the victory may have been even more one-sided than it appeared, too, with Hall pulling out its entire crew of starters after just four minutes with the Warriors already holding a 28-0 lead.
With a hunch that a blowout might be in the offing, Hall also refrained from using any full-court press or pressure defense, giving the Fair team as long as it needed to get up a shot, provided it didn't lose the ball first.
The scoreline was so remarkable when it was called in to the media when it occurred that both the Little Rock Gazette and THV called back to make sure they had heard correctly, with THV scrambling out to visit Hall's practice the following day once it was told the game did, in fact, finish 88-0.
"It's exciting, but it was just another game," Little Rock Hall girls basketball coach Selita Farr told THV. "They just played hard. They did what they were supposed to do."
Beyond the gap in quality between the two squads, part of the problem facing Little Rock Fair may have been just how much more experience Hall featured. The Warriors are comprised almost entirely of seniors and juniors, so even when the starters were pulled it's not like they were being replaced with players who were heading onto the court for the first time in their high school career.
In fact, sometimes letting second and third-team players get on the court for such talented squads can be counterproductive. For Hall, the internal competition for playing time is such that whenever players relegated to the bench make it onto the floor they will look to impress to try and earn more time in the future.
Still, with stars like senior Tyler Scaife able to score 20 points on her own, the line between overly aggressive blowout and simple execution get blurred, sweeping up ethical concerns along with them.
"We just go out and try to play hard, and the scoreboard, that's just how it ends up," Scaife told THV.
Added fellow senior Tierra Coffey:
"We're a team full of seniors and we just try to go out and play our best every night, every game we play."
Evidently that holds true even when the team they take on can't hit a single bucket.