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02/28/2009 - From the Press Box: Southeast girls roll on into State

Jeff Motz

Depending upon if they can defend their title, the 2008-2009 Lincoln Southeast girls basketball team could be considered the best in school history and one of the top teams in Nebraska history.

Head Coach John Larsen has coached two other undefeated state championship teams (1993 and 1995) of the nine tltles in school history.  Those team teams featured players like Emily Anderson, Alisha Starnes and Kara Graham.  The 1994 team lost two games and still won the state championship, giving Southeast the high distinction of being the only Class A girls team to win three state crowns in a row.

Based on talent and their scoring average, this year's Knights squad could be the best the school has offered.  You can argue that the three title teams in the 1990s were the best, you could say the same thing about 1986, 1988, 1990, 1997, 2003 and 2008 teams.  

If the potential three games Southeast would have to play to win their second straight state title were total blowouts, then it would be obvious to classify them as THE best.

Aside from Purdue recruit KK Houser and NC State recruit Marissa Kastanek, Southeast has players that can flat out play.  Paige Hubl, a veteran starter, is another major contributor from the perimeter.  Rachel Masin, Alyssa Lake and Claire Mueller help out as well.  Ashton Honnor and Haley Lake show a good inside presence for the Knights.

92-8 and 95-12???

The Southeast girls happen to be one of two teams in this subject manner that I want to address.  In their opening district game Tuesday night against Omaha South, the Knights beat the Packers 92-8, the worst blow out of the season in Class A.  In a Class D-2 subdistrict game the same night, the Sterling boys basketball team blew out Southeast Consolidated 95-12.

Immediately, you're probably thinking they ran up the score and wanted to rub their noses in it.  NOT TRUE.

In both cases, the starters played very little minutes (roughly 10-15 minutes) and the reserves on the bench got to play a lot more than they usually would.  

But when some folks get on a message board and start calling out the coaches for running up the score and not being fair to the other team, by not knowing the circumstances, then I have a problem with you.

First off, this is not YMCA basketball and these kids are at an age where they need to start learning about how to win and lose.  It's not unsportsmanlike to have your 2nd or 3rd teamers out there playing their tails off like they would in practice while your opponent is still trying to win with their first team players.

If coaches told their bench players to just roll over and play dead, that's not being a true sport and it's bad characterization.  You can't just tell your kids to quit.  

Now, if some people feel that everyone needs to have a trophy win or lose after every game, then we have issues.  That defeats the whole purpose of competitive athletics.  Most of you, who have played athletics, would agree with me.  Some of you who don't and question my credibility, email me at and we'll chat about it.  

If both coaches in these two cases would have left their starters in to keep scoring until about 2 minutes left in the game or go to a four-corner offense to waste time, then I would consider that being unsportsmanlike.

Trust me, I know Jimmy Motz all too well that he has a better judge of character than doing something like that.  John Larsen has been around the game long time to know better not to do something like that.

Coming up Wednesday, a preview of the Girls State Basketball tournament.
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