Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pershing Falls By Two Different Scores

I'm not usually one to point out mistakes because a) they happen and b) they can happen to me as much as they can happen to anyone. However, with all accommodations to karma already being made, this is a big deal.

Detroit Pershing lost yesterday -- twice! The state's No. 1 high school basketball team going down is a big deal in any state and in the rugged PSL, where only the top two teams in each division make the playoffs, Southeastern's win over the Doughboys makes for huge headlines.

But what was the score? The Detroit Free Press and writer Mike Horan published a score that didn't match The Detroit News article written by Rod Beard. The Freep had the score 78-75; The News reported a 77-76 tally. Usually the two papers do a pretty admirable job in getting the mountain's worth of prep scores in all sports correct, but this isn't just a game. This is the No. 1 team in the state losing.

Now honestly, the score thing isn't that big of a deal. Yes, accuracy matters, but both papers and their respective staffs are going through a massive downsizing and staffers are being asked to do a lot more with a whole lot less, like every other industry. And neither paper got the outcome of the game wrong: Southeastern won; Pershing lost.

Here's what's really sad to me. Of the approximately five million people in metro Detroit that don't live within the city proper, I would bet less than 1% have ever seen a PSL basketball team, much less a PSL game. The concerns over violence and safety can be real in the PSL but the availability of staff and officials is a bigger problem. Regardless, some of the very best prep basketball in all of the state gets missed because the games are played at 4p.m. and too many suburbanites are clueless about the city's high schools, where they're located, what's safe and what's not.

To boot, the score is inconsistent, and while that means a copy editor at one or both of the papers is fretting, it also adds fuel to the fire that drives so many Detroiters. I'm oft-reminded of the opinion that only the suburbs get the wheat while the city gets the chaff. Of course it's not true but that idea gains ground when stuff like this happens.

I've refereed dozens of PSL football and basketball games without a problem. Further, I refereed the Southeastern - Pershing game last year at Pershing so I know it was a hell of a game yesterday. And I can tell you outside of Cass Tech and Renaissance, Southeastern's gym is as nice as they come to watch a game.

It's too bad so few get to see the best the PSL has to offer, and if anyone knows the correct score, can you help a brother out?

~T.C. Cameron is writing Metro Detroit's High School Basketball Rivalries, due August of 2009 from Arcadia Publishing.

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