Despite the lopsided outcome, both sides walked away with their heads held high.
It’s virtually impossible to argue that a 102-0 basketball game at a non-professional level (and perhaps even a professional one) isn’t a glaring display of poor sportsmanship. But after suffering the frustrating indignity of such a lopsided loss, Brockton (Montana) High School coach Terrence Johnson says he doesn’t harbor any ill will towards the opposing team, Froid-Medicine Lake High School.
While there’s no valid excuse for running the score up to secure a triple-digit margin of victory, the circumstances surrounding the game left Brockton destined for failure. Due to illness and other personal reasons, the team’s best players were all sidelined or absent, leaving Brockton with just five players (meaning no subs at all) for the entire game. The starting lineup for the beleaguered squad included an eighth-grader, a sophomore who hadn’t played basketball since she was 11, and a first-year freshman. No upperclassman played in the game.
The Froid-Medicine squad boasted three girls over 6 feet tall. Brockton had no one over 5’7”.
Johnson said after the game that his squad knew what they were getting into going into the game shorthanded:
“We knew what we were getting into. We spent two weeks getting ready for this game, but when we got down to five players, all of our plans went right out the window.”
Down 59-0 at the start of the second half, Brockton’s woes escalated as one of the starting five left the game with a knee injury, forcing the team to play the remainder of the game with just four players on the court to Froid-Medicine’s five. Mercifully, the officials switched to a running clock (a “mercy rule” tactic) so as not to prolong the inevitable, but that didn’t keep Froid-Medicine’s shots from falling.
To his credit, Froid-Medicine’s coach, Lance Brekke, said that he was unsure if there was anything he could personally do to end the game, as he hoped that officials would offer a further reprieve.
“I know the referees could have called the game after it went out of hand,” he said to the Great Falls Tribune in a piece that does a wonderful job of both telling this unique story and focusing on the positive stories of what, at least on the surface, appears to be an instance of blind competition run amok.
"So to recap, the girls knew they were outmatched in experience, skill and size, but they suited up and played anyw… https://t.co/GBlCBiyk9B— Seaborn Larson (@Seaborn Larson) 1512517583.0
Despite the conspicuous and disheartening loss, Johnson’s statement after the game suggested he and his girls were no worse for the wear.
“My girls did everything possible to score, and we were trying to find a way to get a crooked number up there,” he said. “They did nothing wrong. At the end of the day, they all went home and asked: ‘What’s for dinner, Mom?’”