State records fell during the last weekend’s semifinals of the state basketball tournament. They’re nothing to brag about, though.
The average margin of victory of the girls games was 21.1 points, making them the most lopsided girls semifinals in state tournament history. The record had been 19.4 in 2011.
The boys semifinals last week were more competitive, with an average margin of 11.9 points, but still on the rise from 11.0 in 2012 and 9.9 in 2011. Miller Grove won 72-38 in Class AAAAA. Eagle’s Landing won by 26, Columbia by 27. Johnson of Savannah won by 22.
The lack of parity in semifinals has risen since the 1970s, when the average margin of victory was 9.7 points. Thanks to the Georgia Basketball Project for providing the scores that allowed for that calculation.
Is it the trend of transfers and the evolution of super teams? Is it the move to six classifications? Is it the way that the GHSA sets up the bracket? Or was last weekend a fluke?
Consider the shock and awe witnessed in these five girls games:
- Wesleyan’s 83-34 victory and 49-point margin over Thomasville was the most lopsided girls semifinal in state tournament history. The previous record had been 48 points when Hart County beat Rockdale County 90-42 in 1982.
- Norcross beat Langston Hughes 62-16. The 16 points are the fewest in a girls semifinal since 1960, when the girls played six on six.
- St. Francis led Calvary 50-14 entering the fourth quarter. The final was 50-27 after St. Francis was outscored 13-0 in the final period while playing its reserves.
- Southwest Atlanta Christian was up 18-2 in the first quarter on Holy Innocents’ and won 78-43.
- Miller Grove didn’t allow a field goal until 59 seconds left in the first half in a 49-23 victory over Effingham County. Effingham made only made five field goals in the game.
Why aso many blowouts?
Here are three theories:
1. The competition is diluted by the move to six classifications. From 1973 through 2000, there were only four boys and four girls state champions. Now there are seven and seven.
2. The format of the basketball bracket allows some quarters of the draw to be much weaker than the others. In football, every region has one team in each eight-team quarter of the draw. That means that stronger regions have a better chance of getting their teams to the semis. In basketball, if regions 1-4 are much weaker than 5-8, or vice-versa, some of the best teams will be eliminated before the semifinals.
3. Transfers. Today’s top players want to play on the top teams and find a way to do it. ‘’There’s no parity in high school sports anymore,’’ one semifinal coach said. “Your bigger [better] players are going to these same schools year in, year out. In 10 years, it’s going to be a disaster.’’