January 6, 2010

Nation's No. 1 team sets scoring record

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Yates High School in Houston already had proven it could score a lot of points, topping the century mark five times in its first 13 games. Tuesday night the team topped itself - scoring 100 points in the first half on the way to a 170-35 victory over Houston (Lee) High.

The totals - both at the half and for the game - broke state records in Texas. The 100-point first half is believed to be the second-highest total all-time in the country.

But it does not come without controversy. On the day that Yates takes over the top spot in the RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings, it figures to be answering questions about sportsmanship. The game was marred by a third-quarter fight and led to a war of words by the coaches afterward.

"I feel very disrespected right now," Lee coach Jacques Armant told Jenny Dial of The Houston Chronicle. (Read her game story here.) "I don't understand why Yates just kept scoring and pressing when they were up so much. These are kids. It isn't good to do that to other young men."

Yates coach Greg Wise didn't apologize for his team's play.

"We practice running, pressing, trapping every day," he told The Chronicle. "If we get to a game and I tell them not to do what we do in practice, I am not coaching well. I am not leaving my starters in the whole game. We have 15 guys, and all 15 play."

And all play hard, Wise said. He said it isn't fair to tell them to play any other way.

"They work really hard in practice, and when they go in, they deserve the chance to play hard and compete, too," Wise said. "We are looking for another state championship, and we can't get that unless we are continuing to get better and perfect our game. We aren't scoring on other teams out of disrespect."

Lee's players apparently felt differently. In the third quarter, one took matters into his own hands with an intentional foul that led to a fight, according to The Chronicle's report.

After breaking up the fight, the referees told both coaches they would have to play just five players the remainder of the game. The other players for both teams spent the rest of the second half sitting in the stands.

But most of the damage had already been done by that point.

Yates got going early, pouring in 57 points in the first quarter alone. It reached 100 when junior guard Ronnie Lewis hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter. The team was well aware of its total.

"When Ronnie hit that three, I was on the bench, but I had a smile on my face," Providence commit and senior guard Joseph Young told Texashoops.com, RivalsHigh's partner publication in Texas. "Getting 170, that's a first for me. We keep on setting records."

Yates, the defending Texas Class 4A state champion, opened the season with a 142-80 win against Dickinson. It has scored 163 against Houston Sam Houston, 148 against Houston Kashmere, 139 against Houston Stephen F. Austin, 131 against San Antonio Country Day, 128 against Houston Westside and 108 against Huntsville (Ala.) Butler this season. Only six times has Yates missed the 100-point mark, and four of those six games were at the Iolani Classic in Hawaii.

Yates' 100 first-half points ranks second nationally all-time. Loudon, Tenn., scored 158 in a half and wound up scoring 197 in a game in 1956. Yates' 170 points overall ties with Hobbs, N.M., (1969-70 season) for eighth all-time. The national record for points in a game is 211, set in 1964 by Grand Avenue High School in DeQuincy, La.

Brandon Peters, a Western Kentucky signee, scored a game-high 43 points in the win for Yates (14-0). Young finished with 37, Alex Davis had 25, and Darius Gardner , a Stephen F. Austin signee, had 21 for the Lions. Defensively, Yates held Lee to only 16 points through the first three quarters.

The result marked the fourth time this season that Yates has won by at least 50 - it fell a point short in its 148-49 victory over Houston (Texas) Kashmere - but is the first time by more than 100. The team, however, appears more concerned with its point total than its margin of victory.

Yates has scored 1,666 points this season. The team currently is averaging 119 points per game, which would shatter the national record of 114.6 set by Hobbs. Yates also has a chance to break the 1972-73 Houston Wheatley team's record of 31 100-point games in a season.

That Wheatley team, in addition, recorded 4,567 points in 42 games. If Yates finishes 40-0 and continues its 119 points-per-game average, it will record 4,760 and be ranked second all-time. The Florien, La., team from the 1979-80 season recorded 4,947 points but achieved the mark in 65 games.

"We're trying to get all of those records," Young said.

And perhaps a national title along the way, too.

Here's the scary thing. Now that it is in league play, Yates' schedule the rest of the way doesn't figure to provide many tests until the state tournament. An undefeated season appears realistic.

The biggest challenge may be sportsmanship. Lee's coach said other teams don't want to play Yates.

"No coach wants to put his kids in a position to be embarrassed," Armant told The Chronicle. "We have great kids on our team, hard workers, and I am proud that they played the whole game tonight, but you can see how coaches are hesitant to put their kids on the floor with a team that is going to score on them that way."

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