81-5 girls hoops playoff blowout raises questions in Texas

There are few calls to shrink the size of the Texas girls basketball state tournament, but perhaps such a move still should be considered, after one game this week provided ample evidence of an enormous disparity in talent between two playoff teams.

The final score in Dallas Lincoln (Texas) High's Class 4A opening-round game against Seagoville (Texas) High was 81-5. Yes, you read that correctly; a high school playoff game -- not a necessary district game or a jaded, unbalanced preseason tournament matchup -- was decided by no fewer than 76 points. Lincoln featured five different players who scored in double-figures, which was more than you could say about Seagoville's entire team effort.

Yet Seagoville (pictured above during team drills), which entered the playoffs with a losing record at 11-19, isn't even the biggest victim Lincoln has ever claimed. According to the Dallas Morning News' Corbett Smith, Lincoln beat Woodrow Wilson (Texas) High in the same round of the 2003 playoffs by 77 points in a 99-22 rout.

For whatever reason, holding a team to single digits in scoring looks so much worse, and is sure to spark renewed calls for increased sportsmanship in girls basketball. Perhaps that outrage should be redirected in an attempt to try and shrink the size of the Texas state playoff field.

While Lincoln does employ a game-long full-court press, it's hard to make a case that the team's reserves shouldn't when they'd be expected to use the aggressive press if they cracked the starting lineup or were forced into action by an injury. How else are they supposed to get practice running the team's defense?

Someone in Texas should be taking note of these blowouts, because there's almost sure to be more on the way. As the Morning News pointed out, the first round of the 2010 Class 3A tournament featured a 121-18 scoreline while the Class 1A tourney offered up a 60-5 rout.

Something tells us the players on those losing teams would have retained more self belief and pride by missing out on the playoffs than by being on the receiving end of historic blowouts.

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