January 27, 2011
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A nationally ranked team and three overtimes usually produce a score well into the 100s. That wasn't the case Tuesday near Dallas, where RivalsHigh 100 No. 12 Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus High eked out a 38-31, triple-overtime district win against Plano (Texas) West High, which resorted to outright stalling as a way to remain competitive with a team that had already blown it out once this year.
"We were convinced they were going to do something drastically different," Marcus coach Danny Henderson told the Dallas Morning News. "What they did was one of about three things we thought they might do."
Was the stall effective? Despite the eventual loss, it's hard to consider West's tactics anything but a fabulous success. The Wolves held Marcus superstars Phil Forte and Marcus Smart to just 19 points combined, and twice had chances to win the game. Unfortunately for West, they failed to connect on buzzer beaters both at the end of regulation and the first overtime.
"It'd be nice to trade punches," West coach Anthony Morgan told the News. "But we did that at our place [in a double-digit West loss]. "[West decided] Let's just limit their possessions and be very deliberate and patient on offense and work it into our bigs."
The strategy resulted in all kinds of statistical oddities. West's possessions averaged more than a minute in length, and included the final 2:30 of regulation. The first overtime finished without either team scoring a point.
While the stall may have been most frustrating for Marcus' high-scoring star duo, the Marcus fans in attendance were just as upset with the tactic. Forced to watch constant ball possession drills in real time, the Marcus crowd resorted to chants of "shoot-the-ball" and "bo-ring," according to the Morning News.
Yet all that acrimony didn't reach Henderson, who had surprising praise for Morgan's game plan.
"That was a lot of courage because that's not a popular thing to do that coach Morgan did," Henderson told the Morning News. "I really respect him for doing it."