I want to begin today’s blog by offering my heartfelt congratulations to the Kirksville High School Lady Tigers on their phenomenal season. They have many things to be proud of this season and did their school and their community proud. The loss to Incarnate Word Academy was certainly not the way the Lady Tigers wanted their season to end. I’ll have more to day about that in a minute but let’s not forget what was accomplished to get there in the first place. This has been an incredible run for KHS having won their district’s championship two years in a row and winning their sectional game two years in a row to advance to the Elite 8. Saturday’s loss to Incarnate Word Academy was eerily similar to last year’s loss to Westminster Academy and to me illustrates a serious problem in Missouri high school basketball. I wrote pretty much the same thing this time last year as well and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if I am writing the same thing next year at this time. I don’t want to take anything away from Incarnate Word or Westminster, I’m sure they are fine schools with top notch educational opportunities and obviously have outstanding athletic programs. However, they are both private schools. Parents pay huge amounts of money for their kids to attend these schools. Incarnate Word is a private Catholic schools for girls and in looking at their Web site it looks like a fine institution. However, schools like that have a very distinct advantage in my opinion because they can actually go out and recruit the best athletes in the area to come and play for their school. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not called recruiting and isn’t technically legal but trust me when I say that it does happen. It has happened for years and will continue to happen. These schools have incredible budgets to work with and can pretty much do whatever they want as far as creating whatever type of athletic culture they want and hire the best coaches and trainers and have the best facilities money can buy. It’s very frustrating to me when I see a public school trying to compete with a private school in these types of situations because I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not a level playing field. KHS did an outstanding job to get to where they were and I still say they are one of the best teams in the state but how can they be expected to compete against a program that has all the advantages Incarnate Word and Westminster have. I will be very surprised if Incarnate Word Academy doesn’t win the state title this weekend, they have done it many times before. However, it isn’t fair in my opinion for public schools and private schools to be competing for the same title. Several other states, Texas for example, realized that a long time ago and have separate state titles. I really think that the Missouri State High School Activities Association needs to take a serious look at doing that in Missouri. The private schools deserve the right to play for a state title, no question about that but it shouldn’t be the same one that the public schools play for. It would make for more competitive matchups and allow all teams to play on a level playing field. Many years it comes down to two private schools playing for the state title anyway so let that continue, just let the public schools whose budgets and available pool of athletes are dictated by geography play for their own title. Until that happens I’m afraid we’ll continue to see the same thing that happened Saturday happen year after year to not only Kirksville but other schools in the same position they are in. Saturday’s loss to Incarnate Word Academy in my opinion takes nothing away from what the Kirksville High School Lady Tigers were able to accomplish this year and I hope they remember that. This season was filled with memories that will last their whole lives and I for one am very proud of everything they accomplished this year and I hope everyone who reads this blog is as well.
The Truman State Bulldogs women’s basketball team saw their season end on Friday as they lost in the second round of the MIAA tournament to Emporia State who went on to win the whole tournament by beating Central Missouri state in the finals. In fact, Truman’s loss was eerily similar to last year’s loss to Emporia State and Truman came closer to beating them than anyone else in the tournament. The Bulldogs got off to a very slow start in the first half and although they played better as the game went on they were never able to fully get on track and didn’t show much defensive intensity in my opinion. They still had a twenty win season though and should be proud of their accomplishments.
We’ll be back on Wednesday with a look at the Missouri Tigers as they prepare for the SEC tournament later this week. I was going to talk about Saturday’s loss to Tennessee in today’s blog but it’s too depressing so we will just wait until I get over my frustration with Phil Pressey and talk about them on Wednesday. Thanks as always for supporting the blog and please do the same for all the excellent blogs on this site.
Have a great Monday!