The Point After:
Published: Jan 20, 2013 12:00 AM
Modified: Jan 20, 2013 02:18 AM
Some Tri-9 Conference schools have decided to change how they schedule basketball games.
Cary, Panther Creek and Green Hope all have four-game nights scheduled with each other this year, meaning the junior-varsity girls, junior-varsity boys, varsity girls and varsity boys teams are all playing at the same site the same night.
It’s not a new concept, but it works to emphasize the rivalries between the three. It’s also a compromise of sorts to old arguments.
The Tri-9 is the only conference in the Triangle – and one of the few in the state – that plays its genders at separate venues on the same night. It’s been that way since at least the 2001-02 season, when it was the Tri-6 Conference.
There are pros and cons to the Tri-9’s way, and no proposed solution so far pleases everyone.
Tri-9 coaches, at least the ones I’ve talked to over the years, want to see their junior-varsity teams play and also want their junior-varsity coaches to serve as top assistants to the varsity squads. Nobody wants to be without their right-hand man or woman during a critical game – even less so for the entire conference slate.
Those who want the varsity squads to play together at the same venues say it’ll bring a larger crowd for girls’ varsity games.
Others say the crowd may be larger – much larger some nights – but almost always late-arriving. And is that worth being without a top assistant to a girls’ head coach?
If you try to work around that by flipping the two game times? Those same people will leave the girls’ game early. Then it’s really not worth it.
There is almost no backing to split the games to two different nights. And nobody wants to do four-game nights for each conference game.
Cary, Panther Creek and Green Hope have been the league’s guinea pigs for the occasional four-game night. They’ve been a hit so far.
For their big rivalry games, the gyms have been packed – completely full by halftime of the girls’ game and mostly full by the end of the junior-varsity contests. It helps that all the games so far have been on Friday nights.
Hopefully it’ll be a trend.
You should avoid overdoing it. But there’s no reason this wouldn’t also sell out a gym for other local rivalries, like Fuquay-Varina against Middle Creek or Holly Springs, Athens Drive against Cary and either Green Hope or Cary against Apex.
No solution is perfect, but at the heart of old arguments were questions of whether we were being fair to the athletes.
With this solution, coaches don’t have to leave assistants behind. More importantly, each varsity athlete is guaranteed electric atmospheres against rivals.
It maximizes what makes high school sports so fun. If that’s still not perfect enough for you, it is, at minimum, the ideal.