Yates' blowout victories have people talking

Should Yates (Houston, Texas), No. 3 in the latest FAB 50, ease up on foes late in one-sided games? ESPN RISE Magazine

An unbeaten Texas high school boys basketball team has been raising eyebrows with its three-digit scores and lopsided victories.

Yates (Houston, Texas), No. 3 in the latest ESPN RISE FAB 50, stretched its win streak to 44 games last weekend with a 154-39 rout of city rival Davis. The Lions jumped out to a 26-0 lead before padding the cushion to 49-6 after a quarter and to 82-24 at the half. It was 100-26 with 4:58 to play as Yates recorded its 12th 100-point game of the season.

Earlier, the Lions romped to wins by scores of 170-35, 139-51, 163-71 and 148-49.

Yates coach Greg Wise has defended his team's pressure full-court play in local newspapers and national media outlets, including a response on ESPN's "First Take." ESPN RISE's attempts to reach Wise were unsuccessful.

But how do Yates players and other athletes and coaches feel about the romps over foes that were obviously mismatched?

Here's a sampling of what ESPN RISE found out:

Alex Davis, Yates player
"Our main focus is executing our plays. It's nothing against the other team. It (running up the score) is not our goal; we just want to play hard. Everyone on our team is hungry. Our goal is to win and be No. 1 in the nation."

Craig Maura, Houston Madison coach
"Last year Yates beat us by 30, and the one-sided wins are nothing new because Coach Wise has always used a high-energy style to keep his kids motivated and focused on winning games and state. Many of the teams Yates has beaten bad this season also have lost by big margins to other teams."

Carl Arrigale, Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) coach
Arrigale's team gave Yates its closest game this season, a 97-96 decision in Hawaii

"Yates plays at an unbelievable pace and can score in bunches with its pressure. I can see where they could score in triple digits a lot but there are ways to hold scores down. I saw Coach Wise defend his team play on "First Take" and don't know the game situations where they scored a lot of points. But I do know sportsmanship has to be part of the game and it's not good for the sport if teams are being embarrassed."

Cameron Martin, Arlington (Texas) Martin player
"You always want to play your hardest, but I would want to pull out (go to half-court defense) to not embarrass anyone. When you're up 50 and 70 points, you shouldn't keep up the pressure, that's ridiculous. Our team would never do that."

Phil McNeely, retired Duncanville (Texas) coach

McNeely won three state titles including 2007, when his team

was 39-0 and he was the EA SPORTS National Coach of the Year
"I don't know the particulars at Yates but, generally, you have to show respect for opponents and not try to embarrass them. You're not doing justice to the sport if you demoralize kids. Also, if you are the coach of a reserve player who has worked hard in practice but sees limited playing time in one-sided games, you're not being fair to those kids on your own team."

Perry Ellis, Wichita Heights (Kan.) player
"I saw them play before and, well, I can see how people could get mad. It's kind of wrong. I saw them play in the fourth quarter and they were still pressing. Why don't they just play half-court defense?"

Cory Joseph, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) player
"It's a game. If they press, they press. No need to worry if you play hard and play to the end. You play hard no matter the score."

Kyrie Irving, St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) player
"If it (a blowout) happened to us, I would take it as a learning experience. This is high school ball. There are a lot of blowouts, you don't show no mercy. It's a team thing. I personally have no problem with it."

Marquise Lee, Serra (Gardena, Calif.) player
"I think it (a blowout) is selfish. Why even press more when you're up by 30 or more points? I think it's disrespectful. There is no excuse to press (in a situation like that). Just play heads-up, half-court defense."