More notes from Joudrey column

It was not exactly fun for me to write my Wednesday column this week. Oh, I believe in it 100 percent, of course, and I am always willing to fight for what I believe in.
At the same time, I know how difficult it is to come up with all-star teams. There are going to be hurt feelings.
Now, as far as the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League and its all-league performers in girls basketball, I think it is quite clear something went wrong. And I documented it. To borrow an overly used sports phrase, Justine Joudrey was robbed. Now I know scoring is not the only barometer of a basketball player, but it usually is a key ingredient to the game. You know, if you score more points than the other team, you win. What a revelation.
Anyway, in my nine years covering high school basketball at The Columbian, we have never had a player lead the entire region in scoring and not be named to the first team in her or his respective league. Until this year. Joudrey averaged 19.8 in league play, about 19 per game overall. (That pesky history gets in the way of things, doesn’t it? Speaking of history, Joudrey was a first-team all-leaguer last year, when she averaged 10 points per game.)
Again, read the column and come up with your own opinion. You know mine.
But going back to the all-star teams … The Columbian higher-ups (my bosses) request (make me) that I help figure out several All-Region teams in various sports through the years. Some sports, with the help of statistics and team victories, are easier than others. Some sports, though, don’t have stats for every position. Such as offensive linemen in football.
A couple seasons back, I made a mistake on my All-Region football team. I had, still have, a formula for what I’m trying to execute with the All-Region teams. That particular year, there was a team that went 5-5 and already had two no-brainer All-Region selections on my first draft. Now, using my formula, I moved on to other teams, other positions, to fill out the All-Region team. In this case, I should have made an exception and put a third person from that original team on my squad. I blew it.
The day the All-Region team was released, I got a call from the coach, wondering how I could make such a mistake. I explained my procedure but also had to agree that I should have made an exception to my formula. When I turned in that team to my editor, I was right, in my mind, with the system I used. The day after it was published, I saw I could have done better.
What to do? Not much else but to explain and apologize. Not just to the coach, but to the player. The next time I saw the player, I told him how it happened, and apologized for not taking one last look for the exception. The best part is the player is a class act. He understood, and I think he appreciated that I stood in front of him to offer my reasoning.
I hope he kicks butt in college, makes an All-Conference team, and then gives me a bad time about it. (In a fun way, of course.)
All-league teams from the coaches, or All-Region teams from us, are not easy to pick. My “miss” a couple seasons ago was not personal, it was not an agenda against a school or a coach or a player. Just an honest miss.
Not so sure that happened with the girls basketball coaches this year regarding Justine Joudrey. Maybe no one had it out for her, but some sure had it out for Evergreen’s program. 

You think my column was long, you should have seen it before my editors got to it. Thankfully, they found a way to make it shorter. You see, I had a lot of other points, too.
Evergreen coach Jay Foreman took a team that had won one game the past three seasons to a 7-3 mark in league and a second-place finish. That, in itself, is not necessarily basis to be named coach of the year. However, the coaches voted only one player from Evergreen on the the all-league teams, Joudrey as a second-teamer. Not even an honorable mention for the Plainsmen. Well, if that’s the case, if Evergreen truly only had one player deemed “talented” enough for second-team status, then I would think the coach did a fantastic job.
Of course, Foreman was not named coach of the year.
A slight for a coach-of-the-year award is no cause for alarm. Just pointing out the absurdity, the hypocrisy, of the player voting.

Another point, for another column, has to do with the constant accusations against winning programs. They must be “recruiting” or “cooking the books” on addresses. It happens to just about every winning team. The funny thing is just about every school has new athletes in the halls every school year.

We know the drill by now. It’s suspicious when other school get new talent, but it’s different when they come to your school. There are circumstances.

As my column noted, I was not writing to defend or accuse the Evergreen girls basketball program. It was to defend a basketball player who deserved better from the adult coaches who evaluate her talent.

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