Two Tennessee high school boys basketball playoff teams -- including one of the state's best -- took the "stall" tactic to a new level in a state playoff game, wrapping up a Region 5-AA quarterfinal matchup in overtime, with a final score of 13-12.
That's right, according to the Tennessean, two of a region's top teams scored just 25 points in 36 minutes of basketball action, well less than a point per minute from the teams combined. Finally, after two complete quarters of standing, dribbling and passing, East Literature (Tenn.) High topped White House (Tenn.) High (pictured above) on a free throw by Sean McKissak with no time remaining.
"White House went into a stall early ... so I told my team we'll play any way they want to," East Literature coach Jim Fey told The Tennessean. "We held ball the entire third quarter and no one scored. And when the overtime started, we won the tip and I told them to keep holding it. It really shows what kind of team we have, to be able to adjust and adapt and play any style of game. My boys wanted to get out there and run."
In addition to not running, East Literature -- which boasts 25 wins after the regional victory -- also ensured that White House got few, if any, decent scoring attempts itself. The result was a playoff win for East Lit, which also knocked off White House during the regular season, albeit in a very different style of game: The Eagles won the regular-season matchup between the teams, 69-54, in late November.
"We basically just stalled, tried to give ourselves a chance to win at the end," said White House Coach Dee Spencer, whose team dropped to 16-11. "We knew we couldn't play with them with our normal style of play."
Perhaps it's worth noting that while this might be the most extreme example of an intentional stall we've run across (at least when you consider the fact that both of these teams were competing in regional playoffs), it eventually proved just as futile as the previous elaborate stall tactics we've chronicled here at Prep Rally. Nationally ranked Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus High won a triple-overtime game against Plano (Texas) West High, 38-31, and Chavez (Texas) High used a stall to hold Yates (Texas) High below 100 points ... but still fell, 97-65.
Is the epic stall technique ever effective? We certainly aren't qualified to say that it never works, but to date Prep Rally has yet to come across a game in which it caused a significant upset, even if stories like Penn Charter (Pa.) School's plucky approach against Academy of the New Church can sometimes make games which seem like inevitable blowouts a heck of a lot more entertaining.
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