Strategy at its best
High school sports is unique in that pure, raw talent can translate into state championships. Sure, there is some strategy and game planning involved, but I’ve seen talent overcome everything else. It happens more often than you might think too.
Whether it’s a football player who can’t be stopped, a basketball player who can’t miss, or a pitcher throws a no-hitter every time he walks onto the mound, there are countless examples of talent winning over everything else.
Tuesday night, though, I witnessed strategy winning over raw talent. It wasn’t a match up between great teams competing for a state championship. It was a game between two teams who haven’t stepped into the spotlight much and just trying to get out of the first round of the district tournament.
The Lady Raiders of Benton’s 43-34 victory over Central Holmes was an example of using strategy to overcome the opposition’s talent. To be fair, it’s not like Central Holmes is the MAIS’s version of Lanier, but I pegged the big Amber Ray to be the deciding factor.
In a way, I wasn’t wrong.
Ray was held to just eight points and only a handful of rebounds because junior Jenny Reynolds never let her get a clean shot off or grab a clean pass.
The other thing was head coach Mike Swindle using a full court press to throw the opposition off its game. Swindle said they don’t handle the ball very well and it showed when they had trouble getting the ball past the half court line.
Sure, talent is something everybody wants and, most of the time in high school sports, it prevails over anything else. But there are times when strategy and game planning overcomes talent.