Fambrough: Game’s not over until scorebooks are reviewed

By Robin Fambrough

Advocate sportswriter

What happened Tuesday night at West Feliciana High defied the logical notion that a win is a win.

The scoreboard showed that the West Feliciana High girls had edged Glen Oaks High 48-46 in a District 6-3A game. It looked like the Saints had won their first district game.

Then again, looks can be deceiving. A closer look at the official scorebook and another scorebook kept showed that the score was tied at 48-48 after regulation.

“They came and got me about the time the boys game started and said there might be a problem,” WFHS coach Rod Lemoine said. “When we looked at it, the books showed 48-48.”

Lemoine and GOHS coach Alicia Dedeaux had to go get their players out of the stands and send them back into the locker room to change into their uniforms.

“It was interesting,” Dedeaux said. “I’ve never been part of anything like that.”

The two teams got a three-minute warm-up period and played their overtime period at halftime of the boys game. Glen Oaks came away with a 62-57 win. After a Friday loss to East Feliciana, the Saints fell to 0-6 in 6-3A.

But as frustrating as the situation has been, Lemoine hopes what happened can be a teaching tool for his team and others.

From now on, Lemoine said scorekeepers, clock operators and officials will work together to confirm the score at the end of each quarter and during timeouts for home games.

Once a game ends, officials will be asked to review the official scorebook kept by the home team and sign it. The Saints will ask their opponents to do the same when they play on the road.

These measures go beyond what the Louisiana High School Athletic Association requires in its bylaws. But they do offer some important safeguards.

“Our kids were frustrated, and they wanted answers,” Lemoine said. “We’ve told them that things happen, and it doesn’t always go your way. Life can be that way, too.”

I’ve always contended that there are lessons to be learned from both winning and losing. Consider this to be a prime example.

Tough times indeed

What has unfolded since Jan. 25 when LHSAAmember principals voted for separate football championships for select and nonselect schools starting this fall has been gut-wrenching to watch.

More than 90 years of tradition hangs in the balance, and there are no easy answers.
It’s a polarizing issue that elicits plenty of emotion on both sides of the select/nonselect fence.

It’s obvious relationships between the schools on both sides are now damaged, perhaps beyond repair. Everyone is convinced their viewpoint is right, which in my opinion, limits the chance for positive dialogue.

At the same time, I do defend the rights of both sides. Just as the principals had the right to vote as they did, the private schools and other select schools have the right to meet and make their own requests.

Am I in favor of 10 football championships in Louisiana? No, because that would amount to one state title per 29.1 member football schools.

To me, four nonselect and three select divisions makes more sense. But again, I believe the select schools on hand for Thursday’s nonpublic school meeting had the right to make their requests.

I don’t expect the LHSAA’s executive committee to grant the five nonselect and five select titles idea. Nor do I expect the committee to remove charter schools from the select category.

And it looks like the LHSAA’s premier showcase event, the State Farm Prep Classic, could turn into a two-weekend event held at different sites, with some games at the Superdome and others at a college site with a turf field. Deciding who plays where and who gets to do what could become just another issue for both sides to fight about.

Of course, there’s pending litigation aimed at stopping the split playoff plan by private schools. The LHSAA is trying to determine which dual curriculum schools will fall in the select category.

This story is not going away anytime soon. And that’s unfortunate, because it detracts from what’s supposed to matter — the student-athletes who are competing now.