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No More Mercy

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No More Mercy

Post  tiger46 on Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:50 am

I went to the Portsmouth – Souhegan game last night.  I wanted to see how good Portsmouth was and guess what – they’re better than advertized.  As you can imagine, they jumped all over an under-manned Souhegan squad.   I remember the debate over the mercy rule when it was implemented a few years ago.  At the time it sounded like a good idea in principle, I watched it implemented last night and let me say clearly, it’s a very bad rule.  
So, we are all on the same page.  If the lead is 35 points in the 4th quarter, the clock only stops for free-throws and timeouts. Like AAU.
Maybe a mercy rule makes some sense in non-timed sports like baseball or softball where there is potentially no end to the game or in a contact sport like football where injury is a concern for the overmatched team.  I see the rational in those instances but, basketball doesn’t have these concerns.  
First off, last night Souhegan ran into a buzz saw.  Portsmouth is likely the best team in D2 and they were knocking down everything but, is that a reason to shorten the game? Taking a butt kicking is always a possibility whenever you take the floor and the players know it.  Varsity players (regardless of the division they play in or how good or bad their team may be) take the game seriously and are taught to fight to the end.  The thing a player or a coach can take away from a “wood-sheding” is the gratification that you played the last minute as hard as the first.  
Secondly, running the clock takes away valuable experience from bench players.  I contend that last night both teams were cheated.  Coaches on both sides use the minutes in a one-sided game to give bench players an opportunity to get some run time.  This keeps your bench working hard in practice. It may be boring for the fans but, it’s not for the players who are on the floor.  
Third, watching Souhegan walk off the court I couldn’t help feeling a little embarrassed for them.  Not because they got beat but, because the NHIAA had told them (with this rule) that they were not good enough to deserve to play a complete game. I have no idea how they felt but, I think they would rather have lost by 60 fighting to the end than losing by 44 in this bastardized finish.
This rule is a knee-jerk reaction by the NHIAA.  We’ve all heard the story of a 100 – 0 girls game in Texas or something like it but, this isn’t Texas.  The state is too small and coaches, ADs, and principles are too involved to let that happen.  High School sports are supposed to help teach character, determination, resiliency among other things. What are we teaching by saying “let’s shorten the game because we know you’re going to lose and we all want to go home early”?

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  JAF on Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:36 pm

I disagree. It's a knee-jerk reaction to take one game and say it's a bad rule. I also think it's a D1/D2 rule primarily because of the number of bench players available that don't also play JV. D3/D4 rosters typically have quite a few "swing players".

See the recent story about the 141-2 game?? Is there no point where you think running time should be implemented? Last year Pembroke won a few lopsided games and the haters in here came out in force accusing them of running up the score. How would the final score of those games changed with a quicker 4th quarter?

Who really wants to watch a blowout? Who learns anything from it? The team that's up is vilified if they continue to score at will, press, or do anything that a coach would *want to teach* his/her bench player how to handle. If my starters are better than your starters, then what logic has the bench for the losing team being better than the winning team? If you have swing players, they've already played 2-3 quarters of JV ball (they get 5 in a night), so they may already be tired - say nothing of having them play significant minutes after sitting for a hour or so...

While I get your point about bench players - consider this... If we enter the 4th with a game out of hand *and then* the coaches put in the bench - who's kidding who here about who cares about the court time the bench players get. I'll assume this game was in hand early and the bench liberally used. Put your bench in early - see how they perhaps handle pressure, let them be able to gain the benefit of quality play time before it goes away. The time for a bench player to earn more play time is during practice. Getting in during "garbage time" doesn't really prove anything.

I think you might be underestimating the safety concerns surrounding a lopsided score or the injury possibilities for *both* teams in a lopsided basketball game compared to football. Referee's are taught to call the game regardless of the score, but let's face it human instincts take over and you are looking to get out of there. Do you call that "touch foul" if you know we're going to the line? Does your level of what constitutes a foul change? Does that cause escalations? Some of those bench players are trying so hard to impress the coach in their 8 minutes of fame, that they play out of control. If they foul out and a starter is back in - how safe is that? Do you call every violation which occur far more frequently with bench players? With running time, I think you can still call the game as normal without fear of those 8 minutes taking 45 to play. I saw a 15-20 point game the other night take 35 minutes to play the final quarter - between time outs, violations, and fouls it took forever to finish off a game where one team was *clearly* in control. Lots of bench players equalled a prolonged game.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  SeacoastDad on Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:33 pm

I was also at the Portsmouth-Souhegan game last night.  My thoughts:

I didn't like running time.  Since the clock is stopped for free throws and time outs anyway, the cumulative amount of "running" time when the ball is dead (out of bounds, violation, etc.) until the ball was put back in play was probably between one and two minutes of the last eight minutes, closer to one minute than two.  But it was enough for the uninformed crowd to yell at the timekeeper!

"Garbage time" can actually be more competitive and fun to watch, and the 10th or 11th man can get some minutes, even if they aren't good enough to "earn" them in practice.  They might just have better players ahead of them, no matter how hard they work in practice.  I don't mind sitting there for an extra few minutes, since I'm already there anyway.  There didn't seem to be any bad feelings between the two teams;  the subs were just playing out the fourth quarter.

I didn't notice if Souhegan had any, but Portsmouth did not have any JV players dress for the varsity game.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:36 pm

The mercy rule is experimental in D1 & D2 this season. Who knows if it will be around next season. Personally, I think its needed more in D3 & D4, especially in D4 girls in some of those 56 to 8 or 62 to 10 games.

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No More Mercy

Post  tiger46 on Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:47 pm

The NHIAA started crowning champions in basketball in 1922 and for more than 90 years blowouts seemed to be a manageable situation. Now the NHIAA feels the need to protect these kids from a big loss? Do you think Souhegan feel better about a shortened 44 point loss and what might have happened in a full game? If protecting player’s health is the main reason for the running time – why don’t they just cancel the 4th quarter altogether? No sense risking injury. Better yet why not do away with overtime while they are at it? No sense risking a key player in an early season game when all but 4 teams make the playoff anyway.
I’m glad to hear that this is an experiment – hopefully the powers that be come to their senses.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  JAF on Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:04 am


tiger46: More knee-jerk reactions? You keep asking about how Souhegan felt - how about Portsmouth? Cancelling the quarter altogether - really? OT is there for a *tie* game not a *blowout* (apples and oranges).

Having been "on the floor" during a blowout game this year, I can tell you without a doubt the energy that was there when the game was close is gone. As hard as the losing team is playing (and ironically it "appears" they are playing harder in those games), there isn't the same feel to the game and at least one team cannot wait for the game to get over fast enough (which is why it can appear the losing team is playing harder). Why wait until you're down 40 to start playing hard? The mantra you hear from the winning coach in games like this is - be safe, don't do anything stupid, and let's just get out of here without getting anyone injured. I could see a coach being up by 30-ish calling a timeout and telling/asking the team to "slow play" it, perhaps "throw the ball away", so that we don't reach 35. There are things you can do to avoid it. But if you don't want to, then well a 35 point differential has a consequence. It's all about choices and consequences. The coaches know the rule.

These games don't happen every night - we're not talking a routine 10-20 point win - we're talking 35 points and 1 8-minute quarter. That would be 12 possessions of 3 pointers without the other team scoring a bucket. Let's say it takes 20 seconds on each possession to score - that's 4 minutes shooting 100% from 3 point land and without the other team wasting time or scoring. Compare that to football where 35 points is the differential which is 6 possessions (a lot for that sport). In Baseball/Softball it's 10 runs after 5 innings - with a metal bat, error prone defense, weaker pitching, 10 runs is I think the most attainable in one inning. Cannot tell you how many times I've seen a team up by 9 hold the runner at 3rd in order to prolong the game (and at least one visiting team paid for it as the next three innings the then losing home team scored more than 9 runs to win the game - that was dreadful as an umpire - game took another hour to finish). Baseball rules are usually the most sacrosanct with respect to change and coaches have accepted it there...

After this season, the "history" of games that exist from coaches, AD's, and principals who implemented the rule can now be compared against the season of games where running time was in effect and perhaps determine whether those involved liked it or not. We're not talking about the parents - we're talking about the educators and those that are playing. How do you know you like something until you try it? Usually though, experimentation is done in D3 which is why I was surprised to see it in D1/D2. Again, my theory as to why has to do with the number of players.


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No More Mercy

Post  tiger46 on Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:24 am

JAF,
Obviously you don’t get the sarcasm. I absolutely am not advocating canceling the game or eliminating OT. Just the opposite! I’m just saying play or don’t play. You make an argument that tired players and risk of injury are valid reasons for running time. If that is your concern, wouldn’t cancelation of the 4th quarter guarantee that the winning team can “just get out of here without getting anyone injured”.
And I am thinking of the Portsmouth kids. As Seacoast Dad pointed out, Portsmouth didn’t have any swingers. The program showed no swingers for Souhegan either. The bench players for both of those clubs got short-changed game minutes.
Your attitude seems to be from a fans perspective or from a referee’s perspective or from a coaches’ perspective. What about the kids on either team. Are you telling me the kids don’t care about playing because the game is already decided, that the kids, the ones in uniform, would rather just get it over with and go home. You used the term “8 minutes of fame” like it’s a bad thing. The bench player’s “8 minutes of fame” is their reward for the hard work they put in all week. This should be a great season for the Portsmouth bench players because they get to play so many 4th quarters. This is the 2nd time Portsmouth had running time in the 4th quarter. As good as Portsmouth is, it won't be the last.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  JAF on Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:29 pm

tiger46: as you're illustrating too, sarcasm rarely comes through in black & white (or whatever color you're using to display this text and background) Neutral

There's perhaps lots of "reasons" for shortening the game - I'm not privy to those conversations. So far the only advantage presented for not having running time is the bench players get short changed court time. In a 20+ point game, don't you think those players should be on the court already? I do - perhaps not all 5 at one time, but rotate them in. If you're a parent wanting to see your child on the floor, who are you upset at? The coach for not using his bench or the NHIAA for instituting a policy to "encourage coaches" to get their bench players in sooner. Why wait until it's 30+ or 40+ or 50+ differential? Do you not see that argument? If your bench players never get into the game until it's 30+, how do you feel about your coach? I would think a player would be fairly unhappy with his coach - as in what does it take for me to get into the game coach?

History has shown rules and policies are devised because someone didn't want to follow the points of emphasis or guidelines. For years, complaints about hand checks being "allowed" are made. Prior to this year it was "just" a point of emphasis - now that it's a rule, it's called more often (I cannot say always because I've *been to* games). For years coaches have been encouraged to not run up the score and to get their bench into games sooner when the bulge gets larger. Beyond requiring a coach to play his bench at a certain differential, I think this is the next best thing even though it doesn't force the coaches hand.

FWIW: Whether they work hard in practice during the week or not, a bench player would be getting those last quarter minutes in this situation, so the reward is really "how long" they get to play - something the coach and players have control over. The only time the clock keeps running when it wouldn't otherwise is when there's a ball out of bounds on a bad pass, there's some other violation (travel, double dribble, carry, etc.), or a foul before we're in bonus. So work on reducing your violations and you still get your full quarter - give or take a few seconds. By this point, being in bonus is almost a given. Play under control and within the system instead of haphazardly trying to prove something. Unfortunately for this level of player many times it *is* the violations that cause excruciatingly long finishes. If the players are hustling in order to inbound the ball after a violation, then they truly only lose a few seconds. If the players are not hustling, then time ticks away. So the reward is - hustle, hustle, hustle. Watch what happens after violations when the game is close - players generally run to get the ball back in so they can apply pressure after the turnover for hopefully an easy basket. Delays are caused by subs entering the game, a ball that rolls into some corner or under the stands, or players walking or slow playing.

BTW: Having stood on the floor and listened to the players of the leading team talk and watching their body language - I can say with some certainty that most want things to be over too. Some are "bored" and know if they played as hard as they could (press, score at will, etc.), then their team "looks bad". So they have to go against everything they've learned, take it easy, and play it out.

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No Mor Mercy

Post  tiger46 on Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:15 pm

JAF
Okay – you win. You have showed me the error in my thinking. In the previous several post you have explained that in a one side game:
1) Nobody wants to watch.
2) The refs will not call the game as it should be called.
3) The coaches don’t want to coach for fear someone will get hurt.
4) The players don’t really want to play.

Sounds like a great way to spend a Tuesday night! Can't wait for Friday!!

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  SeacoastDad on Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:18 pm

Did some research this morning (would you expect anything else? Very Happy Very Happy ).  I'm wondering if they are trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.  Here are all the point differentials in all the games played in all Divisions so far this year.  (The totals for each division include crossover games).  Of course, the final scores don't indicate when (or if) the point differential reached 35, but it's a close proxy.

Point Diff  ---  # of games

Division 1
1 - 10  ......... 30
11 - 20  ....... 17
21 - 30  .......   4
31 - 35  .......   2
36 - 40  .......   1
> 40  ...........   0
Total  ........... 54

Division 2
1 - 10  ......... 21
11 - 20  ....... 25
21 - 30  ....... 10
31 - 35  .......   7
36 - 40  .......   0
> 40  ...........   4
Total  ........... 67

Division 3
1 - 10  ......... 40
11 - 20  ....... 41
21 - 30  ....... 16
31 - 35  ....... 11
36 - 40  .......   0
> 40  ...........   5
Total  ........... 113

Division 4
1 - 10  ......... 28
11 - 20  ....... 29
21 - 30  ....... 17
31 - 35  .......  8
36 - 40  .......   2
> 40  ...........   4
Total  ........... 88

Doing this as an experiment in D1 and D2 isn't going to provide much of a sample size, especially in D1 where more than half the games have been decided by 10 points or less.

JAF - I am going to respectfully disagree.  The more playing time for the end of the bench players, the better.  Good coaches keep coaching and teaching during blowout games, especially to the subs who don't usually see a lot of live action.

One clarifying question:  Is this new running time rule similar to the one in football, where even if the differential falls below 35 points, the clock still runs?

BTW - Unlike tiger46, I'm not ready to hand the D2 crown to Portsmouth just yet.  There are 9 teams with 2 or fewer losses.  Portsmouth was able to catch West early in the season, and they don't see Brady until late February.  But that defense is sure fun to watch.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  JAF on Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:26 pm

SeacoastDad: Yes once the score reaches 35 running time is in effect regardless of whether it goes below 35. Interesting stats - I agree for the most part the problem is not as bad in D1/D2 than D3/D4 (don't forget about JV too). Again, I'm surprised it was implemented in D1/D2 and not in the usual D3 trial division.

tiger46: Are you going to attempt to answer any of the questions I've asked or just be snide? We can respectfully disagree, but yet still have a dialogue.

I get the play time argument, but I also think a coach knows when he has a game under control and he/she could sub earlier giving bench time even more play time and perhaps not go over 35. It's simple - there are good coaches that know that, but there are also others that don't think that way. I had an AAU coach a couple years ago tell me while he was running up the score - "last year that coach ran it up on my team, so I'm just returning the favor"... I asked, "same players?"... Response, "no". Does it happen in HS - probably not, but if the offseason mess we had tells us anything - coaches do have their dislikes of other teams and perhaps given the opportunity to rub it in a bit, maybe they would.

I'll assume the Portsmouth/Souhegan was an aberration - if they played again I'd bet it'd be closer. Some nights your shots just fall and some nights they don't no matter what you do. To come in here and vilify a new policy/rule based on a sample size of 1 is what offended me.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  tiger46 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:34 am

JAF,
You asked me to answer your question. Please do not be offended - that is not my intent:
You state
“In a 20+ point game, don't you think those players should be on the court already?” “Why wait until it's 30+ or 40+ or 50+ differential?”
That is a naive notion. Maybe they should be on the court but, it is extremely unlikely that it will ever happen. Ask any coach at the high school level and he will tell you about the time he substituted too early and the other team went on a 10-0 run to get back in the game. Coaches with very few exceptions will knock a team out cold before they go off script and they should. They owe it to the team to win the game first.
Also, once a team finds a winning formula, the coach will be very reluctant to deviate from the game plan. The team gets into a rhythm when it comes to substitution. Up 20? Doesn’t matter. They stick with what got them there because coaches are creatures of habit and preparation. Winning coaches don’t substitute early or often. They just don’t fix what isn’t broken. A 30 point lead is about the time a coach starts to feels safe to deviate from the game plan unless they are already into the 4th quarter. Why limit those minutes.
“If your bench players never get into the game until it's 30+, how do you feel about your coach?”
As you know, most rosters total anywhere from 12 to 15 players. Most teams go 7, maybe 8 deep in their rotation. That leaves 5-7 players who get limited varsity minutes.
Running time shortens the game, reducing to overall minutes to be had regardless of when a player first goes into the game. The more minutes I can play the better I’d feel about my coach. Good coaches educate role players on what their roles are. Some of those roles don’t allow for much playing time. I’d be mad that the NHIAA has reduced the number of minutes my coach has available. Some of the bench players swing or are understudies waiting their turn in the coming year. They know that minutes will be limited. Why reduce an already limited supply?
For years coaches have been encouraged to not run up the score and to get their bench into games sooner when the bulge gets larger. Beyond requiring a coach to play his bench at a certain differential, I think this is the next best thing even though it doesn't force the coach’s hand.
How do you legislate against bad behavior? Running time in the 4th quarter is not going to impact that bad behavior. In several ways beating a team by 50 in a shortened game would be more satisfying than beating them by 60 in a full game for a bully looking to humiliate his opponent. There are no rules that the NHIAA can institute that will keep a coach from being a jerk if that is his nature.
Please understand, I never felt that Portsmouth was running up the score. I didn’t hear anyone else suggest that either. Portsmouth simply played great defense and shot the lights out.
BTW, fans from both teams were yelling to stop the clock. So many people were yelling that the announcer had to make a statement that the 4th quarter is running time. Neither fan base wanted the running time.
The only time the clock keeps running when it wouldn't otherwise is when there's a ball out of bounds on a bad pass, there's some other violation (travel, double dribble, carry, etc.), or a foul before we're in bonus. So work on reducing your violations and you still get your full quarter - give or take a few seconds. By this point, being in bonus is almost a given. Play under control and within the system instead of haphazardly trying to prove something. Unfortunately for this level of player many times it *is* the violations that cause excruciatingly long finishes. If the players are hustling in order to inbound the ball after a violation, then they truly only lose a few seconds. If the players are not hustling, then time ticks away. So the reward is - hustle, hustle, hustle. Watch what happens after violations when the game is close - players generally run to get the ball back in so they can apply pressure after the turnover for hopefully an easy basket. Delays are caused by subs entering the game, a ball that rolls into some corner or under the stands, or players walking or slow playing.
I barely know what to say on this one, I detect some sarcasm but, I’ll try. You outline a plan with scrambling, hustling, and not making any mistakes and the team can get close to a full quarter. Doesn’t this completely defeat the purpose of running the clock in the first place? If you really are not substantially shorting the game why bother? To keep the point differential lower? Tuesday that didn’t happen. Portsmouth extended its lead by another 8 points in the 4th. The kids on the floor played hard. Nobody seemed “bored” or was “going against everything they learned”. They seemed excited for the playing time and actually played very well.

Garbage time (as you call it) might not be important to outcome of that game or that season but, I believe it is where programs get built. The kids who play garbage time this year will be the foundation for your team next year and or the year after. Every team will have its star players but every team needs those 4th or 5th starters that develop over the course of their careers. How a coach treats the role players when they are on the floor late with nothing on the line creates a chemistry and a desire for these kids to get better or it turns them off and they don’t stay with the program. These players want their 8 minutes of fame, need their 8 minutes of fame and deserve their 8 minutes of fame.
What is the purpose of this rule? What is the NHIAA trying to accomplish? It isn’t going to make games more competitive. I don’t believe that after 90 years of playing full games, the NHIAA determined there were too many injuries in end of game situations and needed to take action to protect players. I don’t think the NHIAA changed the rule because they were worried about referees not calling a game correctly in the final minutes. I very much doubt that they changed the rule because the kids really didn’t want to play in one-sided games. That leaves me with just one conclusion. They want the final score to give the appearance of a closer game than it really was. Why? Who benefits from that?

I saw a running time game, hated it, and came on this message board to tell folks who might not have seen one yet my thoughts. I don’t need to see several more to know how I feel about it. I’m sorry that offended you.
Our primary difference is that you do not value garbage time. You see it as a waste of everyone’s time. The fact that you call it garbage time says it all. So you are good with the rule – I get that.
I think it is very important – I believe that the more minutes a player gets to be on the floor in a varsity game the better for the individual player and the team. Good coaches will use those minutes to plant a seed to grow future full time players.
One year of this experiment is one too many!

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:04 am

SeacoastDad,

I'm presuming your breakdown is for the 4 boys' divisions. After you fold laundry and clean your bathrooms can you please provide the same breakdown for the 4 Girls' divisions? study

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A policy with good intentions doesn't necessarily apply for all situations

Post  JAF on Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:44 pm

tiger46: thank you and no I'm not offended by dialogue

I'm not surprised that people were upset at the timekeeper and they didn't want to have running time. Suffice to say someone dropped the ball regarding communication. Officials were notified on 12/9/14 by email. This was not mentioned as a possibility that I recall during the state wide interpretation on 9/28/14 nor in any other meetings after that (although we did get a healthy dose of hand checking descriptions). The first time it affected a game for me was 1 week later (Girls JV). The clock operator didn't even know about it. Interestingly the parents, players, and coaches didn't seem to notice or at least they didn't say anything (very complacent and they wanted things to be "over" as soon as possible). I also had one D3 Boys JV game (40+ differential mid 3rd) where I saw one very frustrated team whacking the team that was up - eg, safety concerns - and yes we called the fouls ;-), but perhaps passed on a few violations along the way so as to keep the game flowing.

"Garbage time" is a phraseology used by many to describe the end of a blowout game - perhaps a poor usage by me in this case, but I thought everyone knew the connotation and it didn't think it would be considered that I thought perhaps those were "garbage players" or "waste of time". The difference between our interpretations is that I believe coaches should use the spectre of running time as impetus to get those bench players they see as the future of their program "meaningful minutes" rather than waiting for running time. Those that cannot do so, get running time.

My point about when the clock stops and playing under control was meant to exhibit what causes delays or seconds to tick off the clock in a running time game. If you watch the starters in games, you will see they are ready to go almost right away and there are very few seconds between clock stop and restart. Usually less than 5 (oh that's another violation!). Officials with good game management skills constantly keep the game moving for those instances because it's the one place you can really control how long a game lasts even though the clock isn't running.

FWIW: Aside from the R word allegations - I believe programs that build competitive programs do so in two ways -

#1 play more than 7-8 players in their normal rotation through the regular season. If 16 of 19 teams make the playoffs in D1 and 16 of 20 in D2, then coaches using their knowledge/experience of players' "practice habits" and their skill should be able to substitute without losing momentum or a lead. A 10-0 run in a 20+ point game is still a double digit lead. How long it takes to score those 10 is the question. Does the coach call a timeout or let his players play to see how they handle it... Does a coach panic after those 10 and replace the entire bench with starters? When "stats" are taken after the game and it's a 8-15 point differential does anyone question whether one team closed on a 20-0 run? When a game finishes 40+ questions about running the score up are made. Thankfully we don't have to deal with that coach that won 141-2 and was pressing with a huge lead.

#2 play in a lesser division so that they end up with more blowout or "in control" games to play their younger players in meaningful minutes without the "fear of losing". Those teams have very few games each year which are competitive and the question is often asked why aren't they playing up. Unfortunately the way the way the system is set up (2 year cycles) it's difficult to make a 1 year jump when you know/believe you have a strong (or weak) team. Then of course there's gym time concerns, the home/away nature of scheduling with the same school, travel, school population, etc. that all factor into a decision to *not* petition up. Petitioning down is a different can of worms.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  SeacoastDad on Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:53 pm

Tuesday and Friday wrote:SeacoastDad,

I'm presuming your breakdown is for the 4 boys' divisions. After you fold laundry and clean your bathrooms can you please provide the same breakdown for the 4 Girls' divisions? study

As all men should aspire to, I've done a poor enough job of cleaning the bathrooms in the past that I am not asked to do it anymore!

Tiger46 - I also used the term "garbage time" as a common term for the last minutes of a one-sided game.  Not meant to be derogatory, just a common expression used in basketball lexicon.

JAF - I hadn't even focused on JV or girls games regarding running time.  There may be some value at the smaller schools, where there may be smaller rosters, especially less than 10.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:14 pm

The mercy rule is in effect for freshman games also.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  JAF on Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:43 am

Ouch! 102-47 in D3 Boys last night - I betcha with running time one team wouldn't have broken 100... So was anyone here at that game? Was it "enjoyable" to the finish for the bench players? The nhsportspage twitter feed picture shows 10 fouls for the losing squad which only extends the time to finish the game, but is a predictable happening for the team that's losing by such a large score.

I had a D1 JV Girls game yesterday that was a 35 point differential at half... the second half the team in the lead made *many* more passes and took *many* less shots in order to keep the differential in the high 30's, low 40's. Enough to have running time in the 4th, but respectfully done so as to not embarrass the opponent.

So yes there are things coaches can do in order to keep a 25-35 point game from going to running time and get those bench players time on the court. You know when you have control of a game and there are ways to ensure your lead is safe and you get precious time for the bench on the floor without going into running time.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  tiger46 on Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:59 am

JAF,
It still seems like your primary concern is about embarrassing the opponent and showing some respect.
the second half the team in the lead made *many* more passes and took *many* less shots in order to keep the differential in the high 30's, low 40's. Enough to have running time in the 4th, but respectfully done so as to not embarrass the opponent.
I did not see the Londonderry - Keene game on Friday but I saw the score. It seems we've come full circle. How is it less embarrassing to lose by 51 than say 61? Do you think the Keene players would feel 19.6% less embarrassed? How is it showing respect to the losing team for the NHIAA to tell them "you're toast - let's get out of here as soon as we can"?
Let me be clear - I don't like these scores. Nobody really benefits from a game like this. You regroup and move forward. The 102 - 47 game that you mentioned is disappointing for all involved but, would it really be any better if the final score of that game was 92 - 40?
I just question why the NHIAA is messing around with a fundamental rule of the game especially, when it provides little to no effect on one sided games.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  FormerFalcoln on Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:10 am

Anyone thinking "there is nothing coaches can do" is ignorant and clearly has no clue about how to coach. The mercy rule is unnecessary. There is a clock for a reason. Here are a few easy ways to keep the score manageable, allow bench and jv players to play, and maintain the integrity of the game. 1. Designate 2 players as the only ones who shoot. Put two or three jv players in the game with two varsity players and those jv kids are the only ones who shoot. 2. No offensive rebounds on a shot. 3. 8 or ten passes before a shot. There are plenty of things to do.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  JAF on Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:37 am

tiger46 wrote:
I just question why the NHIAA is messing around with a fundamental rule of the game especially, when it provides little to no effect on one sided games.  

No less fundamental than football, hockey, baseball/softball, etc. where mercy rules are implemented by the NHIAA (perhaps lacrosse too, but their P&P weren't posted yet so I couldn't look it up). Why do you consider basketball "exempt"? Of all the sports I think baseball has the most "religious rules" followers - 10 runs with metal bats is an inning or two for some teams, but once you're ahead by 10 after 5 (or 4 1/2 if you're the home team) the game is *over* - there's no finishing it out, no running time, it's considered final. How about that for basketball!! How many would howl if the game were stopped when the differential reached 35 in or at the start of the 4th quarter!

The point isn't the difference between 61 and 51 or 92-40 vs 102-47... Respect and embarrassment aren't earned/lost by changing the differential, that's in how you play the game. There is a respectful way to win by 50 as much as there is to win by 1. When the differential gets above 35 by the 4th - the statement being made seems to be - "this one is over, let's just get it done".

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  FormerFalcoln on Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:47 am

Baseball and softball NEED mercy rules as there is no clock. The bigger issue is the fact that the NHIAA classification committee and more specifically D1 schools do not want to restructure classes to add a 5th division or adjust the rules for moving programs up or down. If there were 5 divisions, you can balance the parody better, it will not eliminate the blowouts, but it will limit how often it happens. If all the divisions were 14 to 16 teams, play a 18 game schedule with two rivalries close to home you play twice you can get more competitive balance. The log jam of teams in DII and DIII is a joke.

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  SeacoastDad on Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:50 pm

FormerFalcoln wrote:Baseball and softball NEED mercy rules as there is no clock. The bigger issue is the fact that the NHIAA classification committee and more specifically D1 schools do not want to restructure classes to add a 5th division or adjust the rules for moving programs up or down. If there were 5 divisions, you can balance the parody better, it will not eliminate the blowouts, but it will limit how often it happens. If all the divisions were 14 to 16 teams, play a 18 game schedule with two rivalries close to home you play twice you can get more competitive balance. The log jam of teams in DII and DIII is a joke.

No logjam in D2.

Boys Basketball # of Teams by Division:
D1 - 19
D2 - 20
D3 - 27
D4 - 20
Total - 86

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  FormerFalcoln on Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:54 pm

If the classification committee would actually provide a platform for competitive parody they would: A.) Move programs according to competitive structure like they do in New York, Conn., and other states. B.) Provide another division.

With 86 teams in boys basketball, that allows for 5 divisions of 16 with D5 having the 17th team. You have all divisions playing a 12 team tournament with a 18 game schedule. You play the other 15 teams one each season and you get 3 rivalry games that you play home & away.

The majority of the "blowouts" are when a top team plays a team that should be a division lower. The majority of these running time games are when power house programs play teams that have not been competitive for over 15 years (Keene, Concord, Timberlane, Kingswood, Belmont, White Mountains, Sanborn, etc...)

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Re: No More Mercy

Post  JAF on Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:38 pm

Ironically the "blowout" that started this discussion was Portsmouth v. Souhegan... In the long run Portsmouth is the #1 seed and Souhegan is right around #16 - so it's expected if all you consider is #1 vs. #16... Will Portsmouth be good next year, will Souhegan be better?

For some schools being competitive is cyclical, while for others they cannot get their athletes out because who wants to put that much time into it knowing that on most nights you'll be on the losing end. I have to believe some blowouts are a result of one team not missing and the other not being able to find the ocean from the end of the pier...

The one problem I see with trying competitive parity classification is who decides? With the 2 year scheduling cycle it's a "balance"... Do AD's try to 'claim' not being as competitive so their teams can move down and win (although still not guaranteed)? OTOH, why do programs that do well year after year not then get forced to move up. In the long run it's the school's choice and they certainly have to consider travel budgets, gym usage issues, and other things that go far beyond what comes to my mind quickly.

Like or dislike the running time rule - it's there for multiple reasons, but there are things that can be done to avoid it being the norm for a team... It a team constantly hits it, one would wonder, why isn't that team moved up? I think Pelham and Pembroke provide two examples in different directions of the affect of moving divisions, especially considering a 2 year cycle which we're only halfway through... It'll be also interesting to see how West and Timberlane do next year...



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Re: No More Mercy

Post  SeacoastDad on Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:46 pm

(Note: I typed this without seeing JAF's comments above. Am sending as originally written).

Interesting discussion.

86 teams in 5 divisions would actually be 4 divisions of 17 and one division of 18.  Under a new 5-division alignment, D1 would be reduced by 2 teams, D2 by 3 teams, D3 by 10 teams, and D4 by 3 teams.

D1
Old – 19
New – 17
Diff – (2)

D2
Old – 20
New – 17
Diff – (3)

D3
Old – 27
New – 17
Diff – (10)

D4
Old – 20
New – 17
Diff – (3)

D5
Old – 0
New – 18
Diff – 18

If you define "parity" by minimizing blowout games, then I would agree that fewer teams per division would help achieve that.  But why stop at five divisions?  Why not go to six, seven, or eight divisions?  What is the right number of trophies to give out?  I'm having flashbacks to the football discussions.

Updated stat:  Margin of victory in D1 games so far this year:

1 - 10 points -- 70
11 - 20 points -- 38
21 - 30 points -- 18
31 - 35 points -- 2
36 - 40 points -- 3
> 40 points --     3
Total games -- 134

In those 134 games, the average margin of victory is 12.5 points.  If you remove the games played by the current bottom two teams (Dover and Concord), the average margin of victory becomes 11.5 points. Not a big difference.

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Re: No More Mercy

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