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Cruel and Unusual Punishment

April 9, 2014
By Dakotah Gillmore of Remington High School



Cruel and Unusual Punishment

By: Coach Browning

After coaching basketball for 32 years, there is one thing that I can’t get past – the sudden,

cruel finality of the last game of the season! Of course, some “last games” are much more cruel

than others. I have three particularly cruel games that I would like to share.

The first happened in 1989. My team was playing in the semi-finals of the state tournament in

Topeka; we had the ball at a timeout at mid-court, leading by 2 points with 18 seconds on the

clock. When the ball came in bounds, the official missed an obvious foul, and the other team

stole the ball. As the girl approached half court, she heaved a desperation shot that hit the

bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded, leaving my team with a 1 point loss.

The second equally cruel ending came in 2000, again at the state tournament in Topeka. As

time was expiring, my team was trailing by 1 point, had the ball, and was in position to attempt

the winning shot. A crisp pass came into the hands of our best player, she turned to attempt

the shot that she had made thousands of times in her career, and she let it go, only to have it

come up a fraction of an inch short as the buzzer sounded – another 1 point loss.

The third game that I am going to mention happened to my team, but, this time, we delivered

the heart wrenching final. We were down by six points, shooting a 1 and 1 free throw, with

26 seconds left in overtime in the sub-state finals in Arkansas City in 2004. Our point guard

shot the free throw, missed, but we got the rebound and scored, then called our last time-out.

We sat in a half court press, stole the ball, and scored after the steal. In a frenzy, we full court

pressed, stole the ball again, and then shot and made a step back 3 point basket to take a 1

point lead with 5 seconds left. Their last second shot fell short, and we were on our way to the

state tournament, leaving our opponent crushed, thinking they had won the game.

All of this leads to Thursday, March 6th

game to Moundridge. All of the hours of practice came down to a 32 minute game. Why

didn’t that one shot go in, why didn’t we get that one rebound, how could we miss that free

throw, how did that Moundridge girl make that one shot? So many questions go unanswered!

All that remains is the self-satisfaction of knowing that the preparation was there, and for

some horribly cruel reason or reasons it was not meant to be for Remington girls to defeat

Moundridge. The season is now ended, but the memories of the fantastic times of the

basketball season of 2013-14 will live for a long time. Trust me!

Coach Browning

at Berean Academy where our girls lost a heartbreaking


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