By JENNY DIAL
The Yates High School boys basketball team set a state record and set itself up for controversy Tuesday night at Butler Fieldhouse.
The Lions beat Lee High School 170-35, setting the single-game state scoring record. Hardin-Jefferson had owned the record of 166 points since 1992.
But the Lions’ brush with history was marred by a second-half scuffle and questions of sportsmanship.
In the third quarter, a fight erupted after an intentional foul was called on a Lee player. After breaking up the fight, the referees told both coaches they would have to play just five players the remainder of the game. The other players for both teams spent the rest of the second half sitting in the stands.
“I feel very disrespected right now,” Lee coach Jacques Armant said. “I don’t understand why Yates just kept scoring and pressing when they were up so much. These are kids. It isn’t good to do that to other young men.”
Yates, which led 100-12 at halftime, is 14-0 this season and has won 39 consecutive games. The 100 points in the first half is also a state record and the second-most ever in a boys high school basketball game.
It was the eighth time this season Yates scored more than 100 points and the sixth time the Lions won by more than 60 . It was the first time this season Yates’ margin of victory topped 100.
While the large margins of victory are turning heads, Yates coach Greg Wise said he isn’t worried about his team’s reputation.
Defending state champs
Last season, the Lions went 34-1 on the way to winning the Class 4A state championship. The one loss was a 78-76 decision to Elsik in the Houston Independent School District Tournament. That night, Wise said he let his kids down by telling them to put on the brakes.
“We practice running, pressing, trapping every day,” he said. “If we get to a game and I tell them not to do what we do in practice, I am not coaching well. I am not leaving my starters in the whole game. We have 15 guys, and all 15 play.”
Wise said he shouldn’t have to tell his “third line” they can’t go out and score.
“They work really hard in practice, and when they go in, they deserve the chance to play hard and compete, too,” Wise said. “We are looking for another state championship, and we can’t get that unless we are continuing to get better and perfect our game. We aren’t scoring on other teams out of disrespect.”
Despite Wise’s intentions, Armant said other teams simply don’t want to play Yates.
“No coach wants to put his kids in a position to be embarrassed,” he said. “We have great kids on our team, hard workers, and I am proud that they played the whole game tonight, but you can see how coaches are hesitant to put their kids on the floor with a team that is going to score on them that way.”
National record: 211
The Lions could be on par to break more records this season. Yates is averaging 119 points per game. The national record is 114.6. Yates has reached the 100-point mark in three consecutive games. The national record for consecutive 100-point games is 14. The national single-game scoring record is 211 set by De Quincy (La.) Grand Avenue in 1964.
The Lions are ranked No. 2 in the nation by MaxPreps and No. 5 by ESPN. They just returned from trips to Hawaii and Alabama for national tournaments.
“We know what people say and some of it is negative, but I believe that Houston is an area that is great for boys basketball, and I believe we have been on the national stage this year and showed that there is a lot of good basketball here,” Wise said. “I think that is good for our team, our community and the Houston area.”