Sideline Slants

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
Before the madness ends for another year-March Madness, that is-here’s more of Kleinsasser’s Crummy Comments.

It’s no surprise the Tabor College men’s basketball team made a quick exit in the national tournament this year. What’s surprising is how they almost pulled off a major upset while shooting just 37 percent from the field.

Still, that’s better than the 33 percent field-goal shooting Tabor managed in two home KCAC tournament games.

Tabor had a remarkable year considering they were often the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”

How strange and unfair is it to say that Tabor’s 15-15 record was somewhat disappointing? That’s what happens when you win consistently year after year. The standards and expectations are higher.

No one said it was fair.

If you thought the 74-46 loss by the Hillsboro High School boys in the first round to Riley County was a bad dream, it had to be a living nightmare for Coach Darrel Knoll. Talk about an emotional roller coaster, from winning sub-state in double overtime to getting blown out two days later at state.

In spite of the bad ending, HHS had a very good season.

Is it emotionally more difficult to lose a game in double overtime like Hoisington did to HHS, or to be blown out like the Trojans were against Riley County?

Let me suggest that losing is always difficult, but it’s a little more tolerable if you know you played well.

The Hillsboro High girls’ team had another good year. Like the boys team, they’ve had an exceptional run during the past decade.

Tabor women’s basketball coach Rusty Allen appears to have the program headed in the right direction. Anytime a coach moves from high school to college, the biggest question is, “Can he or she recruit?”

Only time will tell, but Allen’s early signings are encouraging. This past season, the Tabor women exceeded most expectations by finishing in the middle of the KCAC.

Count me among those with a Laurie Koehn story. Koehn, from Moundridge, is an outstanding player on the Kansas State women’s basketball team. I remember officiating one of her games in a mid-season high school tournament when she was a freshman.

Koehn had the ball while straddling the 3-point line with time running out in the quarter. She deliberately took a step back and buried a 3-point shot at the buzzer.

I remember thinking, “This isn’t your average high school freshman.”

How many basketball players left their feet during March Madness?

It’s one of my pet peeves with basketball announcers. When a player gets faked out and jumps prematurely, announcers often say that “he left his feet.” If that’s the case, where did he leave them? What the announcer should say is that “he left the floor.”

This year I officiated at two sub-state tournament sites in Salina and Great Bend. Maybe the high school activities association reasoned that it’s harder for fans to hit a moving target, er, official.

In any event, I drove through Lyons to Great Bend for two games on a Friday-yes, the same day that a HHS girls’ basketball sub-state game in Lyons was postponed due to the weather.

How is your NCAA March Madness tournament bracket holding up? I knew I was in trouble when North Carolina and Arkansas failed to advance.

What? You mean they didn’t make the tournament? North Carolina didn’t even make the NIT?

Who says nothing changes in major college sports?

Jim Caple wrote on ESPN.com that the Winter Olympics “had corrupt judges in figure skating, Russians threatening to walk out in a huff because they didn’t win enough medals, Koreans filing lawsuits and gold medals being handed out like gold stars in kindergarten (‘Yes, you are special. And you are special, too. We are all special!’)”

Pete Goering of the Topeka Capital-Journal writes, “Tell me again why K-State didn’t like Dana Altman?” Altman has had Creighton in the NCAA Tournament for four consecutive years. Friday, the Bluejays “upset” No. 5 seeded Florida in the first round.

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