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Mt. View's JV stunt not too popular

Greg Stiles

The spate of holiday basketball tournaments near and far may be a boon for the travel and hospitality industries, but they can sure be a headache for tournament directors.

Crater High athletic director Dan Speasl discovered that a full bracket one month, might be wanting the next.

The Airport Chevrolet Geo Shootout ran well enough in 1996 to attract several holdovers for last week's tournament.

Mountain View High of Bend was one of the returnees. Or so the Cougars said last January. But when Mountain View gained a more desirous invitation to the Torrey Pines Nike National Prep Classic in San Diego, Speasl got the telephone equivalent of a Dear John letter.

Our coach (Sean Corrigan) had been trying to get into that San Diego tournament and I was unaware of that,

says Mountain View athletic director Robin Fallon. When the coach told me they had been accepted, we brainstormed about what we could do. We didn't want to leave Crater in a hole.

But the best Mountain View could offer was its junior varsity team. At first, Speasl was told the Cougars were sending their top eight players to San Diego. It turned out to be 11.

Mountain View's roster in the Shootout program listed 13 sophomores and one junior.

Sending our JV team was better than nothing, Fallon says.

Speasl had few options since most schedules are set the previous winter.

There was no way to get a replacement toward the end of September, Speasl says. The alternative to Mountain View's JV was putting byes in the schedule -- not a palatable choice.

For reasons unknown, Mountain View's schedule didn't reflect the change and lists Crater Tourney for Dec. 26-27. No mention is made of the trip to San Diego.

We should have put Crater on the JV schedule, Fallon says.

As far as Speasl is concerned it's water under the bridge.

But Mountain View's haste to spend the holidays in El Nino land may come at an additional cost. The Oregon School Activities Association has a specific exemption allowing varsity basketball teams to play two games in a day to accommodate holiday tournament schedules. However, OSAA assistant executive director Virginia Yankoskie says the governing body's exceptions were not extended for sub-varsity teams. So Mountain View's junior varsity apparently violated OSAA rules by playing two games Dec. 27.

I called Tom Welter (an OSAA assistant executive director) on two separate occasions in November and December, Fallon says. I never connected with him.

It will be interesting to see how often Mountain View appears on Crater's athletic schedules in the next few years. The schools played a home-and-home football series the past two seasons. Ironically, Mountain View forfeited its win in the fall of 1995 for using an ineligible player.

We probably wouldn't go out of our way to ask them back, admits Speasl. But how long can you stay mad at somebody?

Speasl expects the tournament will be reduced to four teams in 1998.

We'll go with four varsity and four JV teams, Speasl says. A lot of schools like to bring their JVs, if they send their varsity somewhere. Then they're left to look for JV games.

NO EARLY WITHDRAWALS: Medford schools athletic director Bruce Howell, who oversees the eight-team Holiday Tournament, tried to insert a $1,000 penalty clause if a team begged off after signing up.

The lawyers didn't like that, Howell says. In this business, you have to depend on the person on the other end of the line being up to snuff.

ZERO-FOR-ZERO: Saturday's 69-66 loss to Klamath Union marked the second time this season that Crater's boys basketball team failed to shoot a free throw.

The Comets also were blanked on Dec. 12 at Sheldon.

I watched the Klamath video and we didn't deserve a free throw, first-year coach Matt Meunier says. We penetrate, but we don't take the ball to the rim. We pull up and take jumpers.