Basketball hoop just a bit too high for Summit County teams
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Imagine if this famous scene from “Hoosiers” played out a bit differently:
Fresh off a dramatic win in the semifinals of the Indiana state basketball tournament, the small squad from podunk Hickory High School stands bewildered in one end of an enormous arena in Indianapolis. Coach Norm Dale, in an effort to calm his team, whips out a tape measure from his pocket and asks his players to measure from the front of the rim to the ground. Dale stands proudly as he asks a kid to read off the height. He gets no answer. The kid holding the tape has fallen silent, staring down at the measurement that reads: 10 feet, one-half inch.
But that couldn’t happen in real life, right? All basketball hoops, by rule, must be created equal ” exactly 10 feet off the floor.
Well, that’s not exactly the case.
In the midst of what may culminate tonight in a winless season, Summit High senior basketball guard Erik Brooks hinted ” after yet another lopsided loss ” that something was amiss with the rim at the east end of the SHS gym.
“I don’t like that rim at all,” Brooks said after a 66-35 loss on Feb. 10. “I think it’s an inch taller, but I can’t prove it.”
It wasn’t just an excuse; Brooks was right ” or at least half right.
A measurement by the Summit Daily News after the SHS girls’ hoops team defeated Arvada on Feb. 12 pegged the rim a half-inch too high.
And as It turns out, both SHS teams have been playing on an uneven playing field all season.
Before the girls’ team opened its season Dec. 2 at home, a coach from the visiting Glenwood squad complained that the rim looked off. Multiple measurements by the school determined that it was, in fact, too high, according to the SHS athletic department.
SHS head boys’ coach Mark Ruybal said that after hearing the news, he and a number of school administrators looked to fix the ailing basket but quickly realized that it didn’t seem possible during season.
“Where the backboard is bolted on, there’s no room below it to lower it down an inch or half-inch,” Ruybal said.
From examining the basket, Ruybal suggested that it may have been hung at the incorrect height 13 years ago and that the original contractor should be held responsible.
Though both teams were told about the rim after that Dec. 2 game, Brooks said Monday that the players didn’t really know what to make of it or what, if any, effect it may have on their shooting.
“They told me that they measured it, and, after they told me, I was like, ‘I wish they never would have told me,'” the senior said. ” … It kind of got in my head.”
The hoop hangs at the entrance to the gym, and both Summit teams open games shooting on that basket in the first half.
The boys’ team has made poor shooting its routine early in games. In that Feb. 10 loss, the Tigers trailed 39-9 after two quarters, making only three field goals.
Brooks, the Jeffco League leader in 3-point shooting, said that he feels the height difference is strictly mental and that his team’s struggles have more to do with what happens on the other 94 feet of the court.
“We can’t chalk it up too much because the team that we play has that same disadvantage,” he said. “So we can’t use it as any sort of excuse.”
The girls’ team has managed to claim a handful of wins on home soil, and its first-half scoring this season shows little evidence of one hoop being easier to shoot on.
It’s unlikely that the SHS boys’ team will have an ending to its season like Hickory did, since the Tigers host Golden High School, one of the top teams in the state, tonight in its season finale.
Brooks, however, doesn’t feel the rim will have any effect.
He does hope it can be fixed for next year’s team, though.
“It’s always right in the back of my mind when I shoot on it,” said Brooks, who’s made an SHS record 60 3-point shots this season. “I’m hoping they can fix it next year, though, so they don’t have to deal with that.”
Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. tonight.
Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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