Yates Hisg School (Houston) sets national record in victory
The Yates High School basketball team, loved and loathed this season for its scoring ability, broke a 40-year-old national high school record for consecutive 100-point games Thursday when it advanced to the Texas Class 4A state final with a 106-76 victory.
It was the 15th consecutive game of 100 points or more for the Houston-based school, ranked No. 1 in the country by RivalsHigh and the subject of controversy all season.
It was a record the team clearly wanted - but struggled to get.
Yates hopes to be celebrating another state title in 2010.
With 2:29 to go in the game and its point total at 91, the players on the bench were holding up nine fingers. The team, using its relentless full-court pressure, then rattled off the needed points. A steal and then a layup from senior guard Joseph Young with 37 seconds left did the trick. Yates then added five more points in the closing seconds.
"I won't lie; I got a little nervous because time starting catching us," Brandon Peters, who had a team-high 29 points, said following the game.
The effort broke the mark set by a Hobbs, N.M., team in the 1969-70 season. And it marked the 26th time in 33 games this season that Yates has reached triple-digits.
Most of the crowd of 14,982 at the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas cheered the mark. But the school, now 33-0, has been subjected to plenty of scorn throughout the season.
The team received national headlines - many for the wrong reasons - when it scored 100 points in the first half of what became a 170-35 victory over Lee High School on Jan. 5. The game made the school the poster child for sportsmanship issues.
Yates coach Greg Wise explained his philosophy to RivalsHigh.
"I tell my guys to play until the end,'' he said. "If we slow up at halftime, we won't be ready to play a full game later.
National columnists took various points of view. Some called it the ultimate act of poor sportsmanship, others said the school was so good it could compete against college teams. Locally, The Houston Chronicle said the team's play was a good thing - a positive for a school with low graduation rates based in an economically depressed area.
The coach of Lee blasted Yates for the effort after the game: "I don't understand why Yates just kept scoring and pressing when they were up so much," Jacques Armant told The Chronicle. "These are kids. It isn't good to do that to other young men."
But after Yates won the rematch 125-26 - in a game it clearly did slow up in - Armant insisted he was OK with Yates' play all along.
Ironically, the school drew more attention when it didn't score 100 points. At the end of a 94-64 victory over Westbury High on Jan. 20, Yates began fouling its opponent, putting it at the line.
Critics said the tactic was used to get more possessions and thus a chance at 100, Wise laughed at the idea, telling RivalsHigh the school was merely practicing for end-game scenarios it may have down the line. And he said if he wanted 100, he wouldn't have pulled his starters so early in the game.
Yates hasn't failed to hit 100 since.
Here are some more of its impressive totals:
# It has reached 100 points in 21 of its last 22 games;
# It has reached 125 points or higher 13 times;
# It has reached 140 six times and 150 three times;
# Its average margin of victory is 51 points (117 points for; 66 against).
For all its numbers, Yates insists there is only one the school is interested in: Two, as in consecutive state championships.
"Our goals at the beginning of the year were to try to go undefeated, win the state title, and be the best team in the country," Wise told RivalsHigh.
The team, winners of 57 straight games over the past two seasons, is just one more victory away from reaching all three of those goals. It will face Lancaster for the title on Saturday afternoon.
When did they go down to 4A?