Paul Valencia: Shot clock is worth price in Washington

Commentary: Paul Valencia



Reason No. 4,377 Washington is better than Oregon: A shot clock in girls basketball.

I wrote that tweet a couple weekends ago when I noticed the final score of a state championship girls basketball game in Oregon: Springfield 16, Willamette 7.

Apparently, I was not the only one disgusted with stall ball in the 21st Century.

The Oregonian reports that the Oregon School Activities Association received a lot of feedback from “disgruntled basketball fans,” some even wanted refunds. Others were wondering if a shot clock would be coming to the state.

Probably not, the OSAA said. One of the reasons, according to the article, is the shot clock is not sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations. States — like Washington — that use a shot clock are not in compliance, and therefore do not have any input into the rules.

Well, yes and no.

Mike Colbrese, the executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, told me Tuesday that there is plenty of support from others across the nation in terms of hearing ideas from Washington. It is just that any input cannot officially come from Washington.

“It doesn’t exclude us from input. We just can’t have anybody be on the rules committee,” Colbrese said.

The NFSHSA has 10-member committees for each of the sports it sanctions.

If something happened in Washington basketball that the WIAA felt needed the attention of the NFSHSA, it would just have to go through a member or two on the committee.

“We still get an opportunity for input,” Colbrese said. “People are very gracious taking any input we have. There are still a lot of good people around the country.”

The bottom line is the coaches in Washington believe the shot clock is good for the game.

Washington also went to a shot clock in boys basketball two years ago, when enough coaches voted in favor of the move.

“They feel they’re doing what is best for their sport,” Colbrese said.

For that, we say thank you to the coaches and the WIAA. We never want to see a basketball player stand and hold the ball for 7 minutes and 50 seconds at a time. Yes, that’s what happened in that Oregon fiasco.

Another state championship made national news recently.

Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy won its third consecutive Illinois boys Class 4A championship, and then 11 players took off their shoes and left them on the court.

According to ESPN, the gesture was supposed to show that this was their court.

It did not go over too well.

The team’s coach acted swiftly and suspended all the underclassmen for a game next year.

This reminded me of 2003 when the Prairie girls basketball team celebrated their state championship with a choreographed dance on the court.

I was at Prairie’s practice when they discussed what they hoped to do if they were to win.

I can assure you it was purely a celebratory thing for them. It was not meant as an act to rub it in to their opponents.

However, for those who did not know their intentions, their dance looked bad. They were asked not to do that again.

All these years later, I received a message from a basketball fan who wanted to know if Prairie danced again this year, after winning the state championship. (No, they did not.) Yeah, that guy was still upset from the 2003 display.

I have no idea of the mindset of the players in Chicago this weekend. I do know that Prairie in 2003 did not mean to offend.

But either way, both actions did rankle some who were there.

Just a good reminder that it is probably best to just smile and hug, take the trophy, pose for the picture. And then, when you get out of sight of the rest of the tournament, you can kick off your shoes and dance.

Paul Valencia covers high school sports for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at