I’ve never envied coaches for having to hash out all-district teams once the season is over.
Parents are always going to feel like their kids were snubbed. You always want the best for your players, but you also have to be honest if you finished in last place.
I’ve seen the occasional head-scratching slight or surprise while typing all-district teams that have been submitted through the years, but nothing quite like this.
Crowell was easily the best boys 10-A Division II team in the district and one of the best in the state. Yet the Wildcats didn’t have a single player recognized by district coaches on the team that can be seen in today’s paper.
My initial reaction was either the Crowell coaches blew off the all-district meeting or there was some sort of vendetta by the other coaches, whose teams lost by scores that included 100-21, 92-30, 96-35 and 80-20.
After doing some digging, it turns out the answer is less decisive than Crowell’s 50-point average margin of victory in district.
“It had nothing to do with them beating us bad,” one area coach told me. “It was the way the kids acted, the attitude they had. It’s a sad situation because those kids are very talented.”
I’ll admit to not having seen the Wildcats play basketball this season. In one of the playoff games the Times Record News covered, Crowell had four technical fouls and an ejection. An early-district game at Harrold reportedly featured technicals and an ejection.
Crowell athletic director Nathan Hayes admitted Crowell shouldn’t have tried to press to score 100 points like they did under first-year coach Dion Mitchell, but he said the situation was addressed during the middle of district play and that it wasn’t right for the kids to be punished “for doing what they were coached to do.”
“I’m disappointed for the kids. I thought they deserved some honors,” Hayes said. “Not to say the other kids didn’t deserve the honors that they got.
“I’ve seen stuff happen at all-district meetings, but never to this extent.”
Multiple people who played the Wildcats stressed that the behavior wasn’t representative of every Crowell athlete. I was told Mitchell Parsley — Crowell’s star quarterback — is a great kid who probably deserved to be the MVP, but coaches didn’t want to discuss the drama that unfolded in the meeting.
The whole situation is pretty much a mess, but it’s also in the past. Hopefully everybody involved can start with a clean slate next basketball season and lessons were learned.
There was one pleasant note about the 10-A Division II all-district teams. The MVPs — Harrold’s Matt and Madison Templeton — are brother and sister, which is pretty cool.
By Zach Duncan- TRN Sports