OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Eyebrows were raised across the nation by that 100-0 girls high school basketball score in Texas in January — not just because it was a shutout, but because the winning coach was fired in its wake.
But the same night Covenant School hung a hundred and gave up none against Dallas Academy to make national news, a couple girls teams in Nebraska made no more than the small print of local papers for decimating their opponents to the tune of 93-11 (Hay Springs over Hyannis) and 85-11 (Omaha Concordia over College View Academy).
And then there was that 92-8 score last week. That came in a girls district tournament game between Nebraska's unbeaten and top-ranked team, Lincoln Southeast, against an Omaha South club that was 2-18 and had lost 79-13 to the Knights a year ago.
Profoundly lopsided scores surely aren't the norm in high school basketball, but they aren't all that unusual, either.
Where "mercy" rules are used to put an early end to out-of-hand games in baseball, softball and even football, only a handful of states curtail basketball games that spin out of control.
Kansas, Missouri and the District of Columbia require that the clock run continuously once a team builds a lead of 30 points or more. The threshold is 35 points in Michigan and Montana.
Pennsylvania goes to a running clock any time the lead hits 40 points in the second half, and Alaska does the same in the fourth quarter.
There has been no movement to implement a mercy rule in Nebraska.
"One of the things we have to focus on in high school activities, obviously, is playing to win. But there are other issues. I'm not sure what kind of learning environment you have when it's that lopsided," said Jim Tenopir, executive director of the Nebraska School Activities Association.
Hay Springs coach Scott Kuhn, whose team beat Oelrichs, S.D., 93-16 two weeks after beating Hyannis by 82 points, said he would not oppose a running-clock rule.
But Kuhn and other coaches said it's best if the coach on the winning side of a blowout manages the game to keep things from getting ridiculous.
Southeast coach John Larsen, whose team is favored to repeat as champion at this week's state tournament, said he tried to do just that against South.
"It was a case where we played a team that wasn't very good, and they weren't very motivated," Larsen said. "And we played extremely well. We ended up shooting 73 percent from the field."
Southeast, which features two Division I recruits, didn't press after the first three minutes and played its starters no more than 18 minutes — and not at all after the midway point of the third quarter.
It wasn't enough.
"I can't tell my Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 players to not go out and try to score and try to defend," Larsen said.
South coach Ricky Ruffin said he and his players have no hard feelings.
"Did we expect to score just 8 points? No. Did Southeast run up the score on us? No," he said. "They're the No. 1 team and they shot lights out. We turn over the ball more than 30 times a game, so they're going to get easy baskets.
"Could they have beaten us worse if they wanted to? Yes."
Lincoln High coach Jeff Pierce's team was beaten 87-19 and 97-18 by Southeast this season, and he holds no grudge against Larsen.
Pierce, who has coached boys and girls, said he believes there tends to a wider disparity in talent between the best and worst girls players.
Schools with high numbers of players who participate on select or travel teams, usually in higher income areas, tend to beat up on schools without many of those types of players.
"Girls, a lot of times if they're not involved at a younger age, in middle school they won't try something new. So at some schools, a lot of the girls haven't played before or have minimal experience," Pierce said. "Boys, even if they haven't played as little kids, they aren't afraid to play pickup ball or go to gyms and get better."
But the boys have their share of blowouts, too.
The McPherson County High boys were held to 14 points or less in seven of its 17 games this season. The Longhorns opened their 0-17 campaign with a 90-20 loss to Arthur County and ended it with a 66-11 loss to the same team.
Loup County lost 105-16 to Sumner-Eddyville-Miller in the middle of a three-game stretch in which the Wildcats were outscored a combined 272-76.
Kuhn, the Hay Springs girls coach, said it's never a good idea to run up the score intentionally on an overmatched opponent.
"Everybody has an up year; everybody has a down year," he said. "We have a saying out here: 'What goes around comes around.'"