Mother Nature being unkind to ADs

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

With only a little more than two weeks of time remaining be-fore district tournaments are due to begin, athletic directors in the I-70 Conference have been scrambling like never before, trying to reschedule make-up dates for games lost due to Mother Nature dumping 20-plus inches of snow on the Central Missouri region last week.

Really, it has been a juggling act for some ADs ever since early in January, dating as far back as Jan. 10.

So far, Sweet Springs has more games than any other school for which to schedule make-up dates, five in all, including three conference double-headers.

Wellington and Saint Paul each has four dates, including two conference double-headers to get scheduled.

Concordia has to reschedule three, including two conference double-headers.

Santa Fe has two conference double-headers, as do Crest Ridge, Lone Jack and Orrick, too.

"We've never missed this many days (of school) since I've been here," CHS 11-year athletic director Brent Cooper said. "But we kind of caught it a little bit lucky because some of them we were in tournaments, and the games were rescheduled during that week."

Trouble started when the Orioles had their non-conference home double-header with Higginsville postponed. The make-up date is Feb. 9. The Orioles also had to postpone a conference double-header at home with Crest Ridge the next night to Feb. 21. The latest casualty at Sweet Springs Friday is scheduled to be played Feb. 19.

Cooper said it's been a rough time this school year.

"First, you have to find a date that will work for both schools. With Sweet Springs the other night, it was scheduled to be their homecoming (courtwarming), and you really have to try to find a Friday or a Saturday, so they can do all of their other activities," Cooper, who was the head boys' basketball coach during 2000-01 through 2007-08, said. "We also have had schools call us and cancel junior-varsity games, so you're trying not to cut their games too much.

"You also try not to give a team more than three games in a week. If you do the math, it's not going to work that way for a lot of teams. Some are going to be playing four in a week."

The way things shake out now, the Orioles will play their courtwarming games Feb. 18 and then go to Sweet Springs for the 'Hounds' courtwarming the next night.

"I have to make sure we didn't have the dance or something connected with ours on that date. If it would have been, then we would have had to move it," Cooper said.

Saint Paul 11th-year AD Monte Pitsch also has had his hands full, rescheduling conference double-headers at Lone Jack and Crest Ridge, along with non-conference double-header at home versus KC Lutheran and a boys' game at Calvary Lutheran.

"Lone Jack and Crest Ridge snowed out twice now," Pitsch said. "It's not ideal to play back-to-back nights, and when they are conference games, it really isn't ideal. We play Wellington (on Feb.) 18 and Crest Ridge (on Feb.) 19. They are two good teams."

The Lady Saints of head coach John Beerman will be scheduled to play four games that week, Pitsch said.

"Kids really don't mind (the number of games played in a week). They would rather play than practice this time of year," Pitsch, who is in his 10th year as the boys' head coach, said.

The Lone Jack games, which were first postponed to Jan. 15 from Jan. 11, have been reset for Feb. 25. The Crest Ridge games from Jan. 21 and Feb. 2, have been rescheduled for Feb. 19.

As for the non-conference contests at home versus Pilot Grove from Feb. 1 and the boys' game at Calvary Lutheran, they have not been able to be rescheduled as of yet.

Santa Fe has home make-up dates to be set versus Lone Jack, originally set for Feb. 1, and Crest Ridge from Friday. The games versus Lone Jack were tentatively reset for Saturday, but were postponed again. No word on the dates for the make-up games.

Other than the make-up date that has been set versus the Orioles, Sweet Springs has some work to do.

A conference double-header at Wellington from Jan. 11, was played Monday night. A conference double-header at home versus Lone Jack from Jan. 21 has been reset for Feb. 16.

In a non-conference double-header, the Greyhounds and Lady Greyhounds will play Slater, originally set for Feb. 1, on Feb. 14. The home double-header versus KC Lutheran from Thurs-day has yet to be rescheduled.

Crest Ridge has reset conference games at Orrick from last week Tuesday for Feb. 14.

Lone Jack also has a conference doubleheader at home for courtwarming versus Orrick from Feb. 4 rescheduled for Feb. 23.

Orrick head coach Morgan Dickson said the kids might be hurt by postponements of school, as well.

"It's tougher on the kids because we're not able to stay sharp, due to lack of gym time," he said, "in addition to playing three or four games a week from here on out."

There really is not a steadfast rule regulating the number of games teams can play in a week.

"Most districts are going to be seeding districts soon, so you're trying to get in as many games as possible," Cooper said.

Cooper also said contracts with non-conference opponents can be broken in order to fulfill conference obligations.

"It's happened before," he said. "And, (this year), they may be in the same boat," he said.

There are other factors, as well.

"The I-70 math relays and drama and debate are activities that are set up far in advance, so you also have to be aware of those," Cooper said.

Cooper isn't sure of the ruling if all I-70 teams aren't able to play all of their conference contests.

"I don't really know what the ruling would be. Hopefully, it won't come to that. We'll play on Wednesdays or Saturdays to get them all in," he said. "I think everybody has just about everything rescheduled, at this point. But we can't have too many more of these (snowstorms)."

All athletic directors are sure to be hoping for clear and warmer weather the rest of the basketball season.

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