Guido: Signs point to Springdale's basketball history

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Springdale boys basketball coach Seth Thompson is a social studies teacher at Freeport Area Junior High.

But he's also spending some time giving his Dynamos history lessons.

Before the practice season got under way, Thompson had placards made illustrating every winning season Springdale has had during its basketball history. He installed the placards in the hallway of the locker room adjacent to Donald McGhee Field House.

“The oldest kids on this year's team were born in 1995, and we've only had a couple of winning seasons since,” Thompson said. “They don't realize the history of tradition and success here. When we first put them up, a bunch of them stood in the hallway and looked at them.”

It didn't take the school long to start winning. It posted a 17-7 record during the inaugural 1926-27 campaign.

“I want to make them aware that they have something to live up to,” Thompson said. “I told the players to imagine there's a big book called Springdale basketball that has a lot of chapters and success, and you're responsible for writing the next chapter.”

The players were thoroughly impressed by the array of placards.

“That represents our past position, and we're going to try and get that tradition back,” said senior Matt Matisko.

Matisko's late father, Dave, was a starter on the 1985 team that played Washington for the WPIAL Class AA championship at Pitt's Fitzgerald Field House.

“My dad used to tell me that you'd have to get up to the field house before the JV game to get a seat; the place was always packed,” Matt Matisko said. “That's a goal of ours to get back to that kind of basketball.”

Springdale begins this season at home Friday against Yough in the Dynamo Tip-off Tournament.

Hoops rules changes

The electronic age has come to high school basketball — sort of.

Coaches can now use electronic devices on the sidelines during timeouts. But coaches still can't use electronic devices to communicate with the players on the court.

That's one of a small number of rules changes in effect for the new scholastic basketball season.

For example, coaches may use electronic tablets for instruction during a timeout. But coaches are still forbidden from using a megaphone or other devices to communicate with players while the ball is live.

Likewise, a coach is not able to argue a call by using a electronic device to look up a rule or procedure.

Players who wear headbands, wristbands and therapeutic arm sleeves or leg sleeves must all wear the same color. Allowable are white, black, beige or a solid school color.

New this season is a requirement that the arm and leg sleeves are worn only for medical reasons. A student-athlete must be able to document the medical need upon request, according to the PIAA office.

There is no technical foul called if a player is in violation. Instead, the player must remove the offending item or can be substituted for and return to the court later.

Should a fight break out on the court, coaches can come out to help break up the fight. Prior to this season, coaches could only play peacemaker when beckoned by an official.

Sometimes, the rulesmakers do things that make you shake your head.

A number of schools bought Nerf rugs to be laid in the coaches boxes. The rugs are the size of the coach's box, and it was easy to see if a coach was outside the box.

Now, the rules committee has disallowed Nerf rugs, and coaches have to stay inside the painted lines.

Schools are now stuck with unused carpets.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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