Archive for Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Opinion: Bravo, KVL

February 28, 2007

Consider this my thank-you note to the Kaw Valley League.

Thanks to a change in scheduling installed this year for the first time, our coverage of local high school basketball has been easier -- and better -- than ever.

For most of my career, because of the way the KVL previously made up its boys and girls basketball schedules, I was forced to choose which team to cover when league teams played on Tuesday nights.

Back then, one team -- either the boys or the girls -- would play at home and the other would play the same school on the road. This year, both teams have played in the same gym on Tuesday nights, making it easier to cover them both and more fun for everyone involved.

There are few things more exciting than the buzz surrounding a Friday night of high school basketball. And now, thanks to the new policy, Friday night comes twice a week for fans of Kaw Valley League basketball.

But it hasn't always been that way. Until this year, deciding which games to cover on Tuesday nights was a nightmare.

Typically, I used common sense when making my decision. If one team was in the thick of a race for the league title or squared off against a big-time rival, I made sure to attend that game. I figured the game that meant something would be more entertaining and would lead to a more exciting and insightful story. Most of the time, I was correct. But on a couple of occasions, I got burned.

The one that always stands out in my mind came a few years ago when Bonner Springs and Mill Valley were scheduled to clash on a Tuesday night in February of 2003.

For much of the past four seasons, the Braves and Jaguars boys teams have been at the top of the league standings, battling it out for the KVL title. Many times, the team that won the battle between these two schools immediately earned the upper hand in the chase for the championship.

Because of that, along with the fact that the two teams entered the contest separated by just one game in the standings, it seemed like a no-brainer for me to cover the boys game at Mill Valley. The Braves won the game, 64-44, and went on to win the 2003 KVL title by one game. My intuition was right on the money.

But if the league had been operating under today's scheduling standards back then, I wouldn't have missed it when BSHS senior Nyse Pinks set a school record by pouring in 40 points in a victory over the Lady Jags.

I've encountered a few more scenarios like the one I just mentioned during my time covering the KVL, but none of them stood out quite as much as missing out on a school record.

Thanks to the league's new policy, I won't have to worry about missing any more.

But the change is good for more than just me. The athletes are probably the biggest winners here, as the girls and boys who play high school basketball can now enjoy bigger crowds and the thrill of watching each other play.

The fans are a close second, as traveling to one site to take in two varsity games is much easier and much more enjoyable than having to choose.

Another season of Kaw Valley League basketball wrapped up Friday night, and in my eyes, this one was by far the best.

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