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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

State fooled by Clarkton's Reindeer games

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

If you turn to the scoreboard on page 12 of today's sports section, you will notice this week's Missouri high school boys basketball state rankings.

In Class 5, Poplar Bluff is ranked second with a record of 21-1. In Class 4, Dexter checks in at No. 8 with a record of 16-3.

In Class 3, Charleston is ranked No. 5 with a mark of 18-3 and Twin Rivers rounds out the top 10 with a record of 16-4.

No local teams are ranked in Class 2, but in Class 1, we've got two.

Bell City, followed by Oran you ask?

No sir.

Try Clarkton, who, unless it was some kind of a typo, blew past Bell City in the rankings.

That's right, the Reindeer bunny-hopped the defending state champs this week.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most outrageous, absurd, ludicrous thing you can think of...this one is about a seven.


Santa's Little Helpers are having an outstanding season by Tri-County Conference standards, but they have no business being state ranked at all.

Being No. 4, one spot ahead of Bell City, is a total farce. How did this run-of-the-mill program gain so much respect this year? Well that's an easy question to answer. Head coach Delane Beckwith is compiling this year's state poll.

Obviously that is a joke.

Here's how they really did it:

1. Clarkton plays an awful schedule. Playing in the Tri-County Conference doesn't help matters there.

2. Clarkton beat 18 of its 19 awful opponents. With the schedule these guys play, how on earth did they lose a game?

3. Confused state pollsters look at Clarkton's pretty 18-1 record and consider them a premier team.

That's the real joke. In the past, average teams haven't been rewarded for posting stellar records against lesser opponents.

Last year, Park Hills Central was a perfect example. The Rebels were 26-2 in the regular season, with both losses coming against 4A power Poplar Bluff. But due to a lack of quality wins, PHC only got ranked in the final poll of the season, after they won their district.

That's how it should be done in my opinion. If we're going to reward teams on record alone, then Meadow Heights should be ranked.

The Reindeer have done nothing to warrant such a high ranking. Their best win of the season came over Hayti, and that was post-Pete Peterson. After that, Malden is their most notable win.

And their one loss didn't come to a powerhouse like Bluff, Charleston or even Dexter. The juggernaut known as Campbell pulled off the colossal upset back in the Holcomb Tournament.

That alone should tell you the kind of team we're dealing with.

When will these guys play even a decent team? Well, it won't happen, unless they win their district.

The road has been easy up to this point, and the remaining schedule doesn't look much tougher. Clarkton will take on Richland Friday night, followed by the Tri-County Conference Tournament next week.

The Reindeer will then end the regular season with home games against Risco and Bernie, before participating in the Class 1, District 1 Tournament against the likes of Cooter, Southland, Naylor and Delta C-7.

After all that, Clarkton will probably be ranked No. 1 in the state with a record of around 26-1.

And that's when we get to see just how good this team really is.

At 6:30 on March 11, Clarkton will take the court at the Sikeston Field House against either Bell City or Oran, whoever comes out of District 2.

The winner of that game will be the undisputed champ of Southeast Missouri small-school basketball. It won't be Clarkton.