January 22, 2010

Foul play? Yates in controversy again

MORE: Check out the latest RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings

Earlier this season, Houston (Texas) Yates earned national headlines - and some national condemnation - when it scored 100 points in the first half on the way to a 170-35 victory.

Earlier this week, some questioned whether Yates showed unsportsmanlike behavior when it seemingly tried to get 100 points in a game.

The scrutiny never stops when you're the No. 1 team in the RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings - and don't mind putting up a lot of points. Here's how the latest episode went down.

In the closing minutes of what would become a 94-64 victory, Yates began fouling Westbury as if it were trailing.

Was it an attempt to extend the game and get more possessions to reach 100 points for an eighth-straight game (which would have tied the state record)?

Yates head coach Greg Wise said, 'No.'

"We purposely fouled for practice into the playoffs," he said. "I told the guys that this game is the best possible practice for this week for the playoffs later on.

"We had some guys do some other things too with the trap and steal or foul and put them on the line. So, down the road, when we get to the end of a close game, we're not trying to foul on purpose but trying to get the steal."

Westbury did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

Wise, however, did. And he does have a point. Yates has only had one tight game all season - a 97-96 victory over No. 8 Philadelphia (Pa.) Neumann-Goretti. And only three of its 17 wins have been decided by single-digits.

As for the state-record streak?

"We didn't even know about the record until someone told us about it," he said.

Wise laughed at the idea of reaching 100. He said his senior-dominated team that has won 43 straight games over two seasons could have reached the century mark a few more times if it really wanted to.

Last year: "We had at least 10 or 15 games last season where we scored 90 and could have scored 100."

This year: "In the first game in the Alabama tournament (an 82-62 win), we could have scored 100 at that game. We were trying to keep some guys fresh for later games in the tournament."

Against Westbury: "We didn't start our leading scorer. (Joseph Young, who Wise said is averaging 28.5 ppg, didn't see playing time until the second quarter.) The kids weren't worried about not scoring."

Wise isn't worried about his point totals - or what others think of him and his team.

"Our goals at the beginning of the year were to try to go undefeated, win the state title, and be the best team in the country," he said.

To do that, Wise said, his team needs to play every game like it's a two-point game.

"I tell my guys to play until the end,'' he said. "If we slow up at halftime, we won't be ready to play a full game later.

"Come playoff time, they'll realize what we're doing. Playing half a game doesn't help us into the playoffs."

Though it may bring a few more wins in the court of public opinion.

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