SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- The Pinewood High School girls basketball team decided not to play last Saturday. And who could blame them?
Just two days earlier, the team from Los Altos Hills, Calif., played its first game of the year, and lost to San Mateo (Calif.) High School. The score was 101-1. That's right. One.
"Most of our team is freshman girls," explained Principal Lynn Riches. "We kind of expected this would be a difficult year. We just didn't expect it to be quite this bad."
This bad: 30-0 after the first quarter, 53-1 at halftime. After a free throw by sophomore Sylvia Honen, nobody on the team scored again. Until the next night.
Then, in the second game of the season, Pinewood managed all of five points against Menlo. Too bad; Menlo scored 31. With its B team.
"Pinewood couldn't initiate its offense against San Mateo," said John Paye, in considerable understatement. Paye, the former Stanford quarterback who is on injured reserve for the San Francisco 49ers, coaches the Menlo girls. "They got better against us," he said.
There are only 275 students at Pinewood, a private, coed school for seventh- through 12th-graders. Until this year, that was enough to court a competitive basketball team because one member was Eileen Shea, a 5-foot-10 player who routinely scored 30 or more points a game. During her four years at Pinewood, the team won. It even won a league championship. But Shea has gone on to play at Michigan State.
Without Shea, well . . .
"I don't even think they realize how bad a 100-point loss is," said Walter Bugler, the coach of Mercy High in Burlingame, Calif. "They seemed pretty naive about basketball. I don't think most of them had played in a game before."
His team was to play Pinewood Saturday. Instead, his team practiced. He didn't seem to mind.
"It's tough to plan for a game like that," he said. "We'd have played our scrubs a lot and we would have practiced our offense. We would have just walked the ball down the court. We wouldn't have pressed. There's no call for that."
If anything, the poor Pinewood team came away sentimental favorites. And the team that beat them by 100, the team from San Mateo, came away looking like bullies.
"Things like this shouldn't happen," said John Hofferd, athletic director at Sacred Heart, an upcoming opponent of San Mateo. "You know, the decision to continue to play a game like that is in the hands of the adults. They could have found a way to talk to the officials and do something, maybe drop a quarter or something. These are high school kids, after all. You have to keep it in perspective."
The San Mateo coach, Mike Lawyer, only had eight players on his team, so there weren't a lot of substitutes to put in. High school girls basketball uses a shot clock, which means his team couldn't stall to hold down the score.
Pinewood's coach, Nancy Moyer, said she wasn't angry about the lopsided score. "This is going to be a building year," she said.
Maybe the team already has shown improvement. They did quintuple their offensive output the next night. But no matter how badly they get beaten the rest of the year -- and there's talk they'll cancel their varsity games and play their team against junior varsities . . .
"Hey," said Ron Bryant, Menlo athletic director, "they came back and played the next night, didn't they?"