Sports opinion: Off night ends Yukon’s season in flawed playoff system

One of the most difficult things to do in sports is to play in a one-and-done situation. As an athlete, you never know when you are going to have your best stuff.

All you can do is to prepare yourself the best you possibly can hope you can get hot at the right time. Unfortunately for the Yukon boys basketball team, that did not happen on Friday night.

The Millers fell to Sand Springs in round one of the 6A east regional tournament at Norman North High School by a score of 66-59.

Yukon entered the regional tournament as the higher-ranked and higher-seeded team on Friday night. However, many times in a one-and-done scenario, it doesn’t matter who is higher-ranked, higher-seeded or who has more talent.

The Millers had the talent to make it to the 6A state tournament but it takes more than talent and skill-level to climb the mountain through the regional and area parts of the bracket.

On Friday evening, Sand Springs was the more aggressive team, the more physical team and played like a true underdog.

Everyone in the building could tell that the Sandites weren’t comparable to Yukon when it comes down to talent in both the backcourt and the front court.

The Millers had more athletic and more talented guards than Sand Springs, but the Sandite guards were disciplined and didn’t make mistakes. They made a conscious effort to make Yukon beat them with long-range jump shots from the perimeter and the shots weren’t falling for the Millers.

It didn’t happen often, but when the Yukon guards were able to penetrate or get out on a fast break, it was obvious that Yukon was on a different level in the athleticism category.

Down in the paint, the Millers’ star big man Cameron Martin scored a lot of points but the Sand Springs post players made life miserable for the 6-foot-10 senior. The Sandites didn’t have a single post man that could come close to stopping Martin, but together they got physical with him and the referees allowed it to happen.

Sand Springs’ game plan was obvious from the start. They were going to make the Yukon guards make shots from the perimeter and get super physical with Martin in the paint and it worked.

The next night, Sand Springs played Trae Young and Norman North and got destroyed in the regional championship game, which is a shame because I believe that Yukon would have given the Timberwolves a much better test in the title game.

I understand that the one-and-done format makes things exciting in that first round but does it really allow for the best teams to advance?

In this situation last weekend with Yukon, it did not.

Yes, the Millers could have and probably should have played better and found a way to win and advance, but it’s just a shame when you see a team with the talent that Yukon has and combined with the star power of Cameron Martin go down in the first round.

Here’s a solution to the one-and-done problem in Oklahoma high school basketball:

They should do it just like baseball. You should have eight, four-team, double-elimination tournaments with the winner making the state tournament. Then, the state tournament can be an eight-team, single-elimination tournament to determine the champion. Now, that sounds pretty simple to me.

Perhaps it’s time to rethink just the postseason format for large-school basketball in Oklahoma.

 

2 Comments

  1. Tamri Savage on March 2, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    OR maybe you shouldn’t make excuses for teams that get down right beat! I am sure there are a lot of teams that would like to fuss when they get beat in the first round, but this is big boy basketball, you don’t get a participation trophy! Our guards were better, we shot better, we had a better game plan and we were tougher overall. Really low to actually come out and tear down a team that came, gave their best and beat a good team. In my 23 years of being a part of Oklahoma basketball we have been on that side many times, it is a part of the playoffs and a part of Oklahoma basketball! Suck it up!

  2. Kimbre Neidhart on March 3, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Seriously? Do you really believe what you just wrote? Were you an athlete? An athlete prepares for playoffs – the best team did win that night. You must be one of those that believe in participation trophies. You can’t keep playing until the team you want to win comes out with the win. It doesn’t work that way. You get a game plan, you prepare, and you go play the playoff game. Those that win deserve to win. Sandites obviously prepared better and had the players to win – bottom line. You should maybe start writing about youth sports where everyone is a winner and stay away from the big boys.

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