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HEIDELBERG, Germany — Some say the scoreboard never lies.

But if the scoreboard at Heidelberg High School on Jan. 27 wasn’t lying when it displayed Heidelberg 105, Frankfurt International School 7, it was at least misleading, according to the DODDS-Europe administrator assigned to investigate the apparent case of poor sportsmanship.

Heidelberg District Superintendent of Schools Frank Roehl, after looking at the game tape multiple times and interviewing the coaches and administrators involved, said by telephone Tuesday that this time the scoreboard lights reflected circumstances, not boorishness.

"This was, for lack of a better term, a non-DODDS game, a friendly, arranged by the schools themselves," Roehl said. "We encourage schools to do that to give our athletes more opportunities."

Such off-schedule games are not reported to or by Stars and Stripes, which didn’t learn of the lopsided result until it received an e-mail of complaint late last week.

According to Roehl, both teams exchanged information before the game that revealed the visitors, who compete in Division I — the same as Heidelberg — when they participate in European championships with DODDS teams, were far from competitive in basketball this season.

"The FIS coach [Will Moncrief] told me that out of his seven players, only one was a true basketball player," Roehl said.

According to Roehl, Heidelberg coach Brad Shahan, whose teams are known for their ferocious full-court pressing defense, asked Moncrief before the game what FIS would like the Lions to do. Moncrief, Roehl said, asked that Heidelberg press to give his team exposure to that style of play.

"Heidelberg pressed for the first two or three minutes of the game," Roehl said. "Heidelberg pulled off the press when it became apparent FIS couldn’t cope."

In addition, Shahan benched his starters for the first period and all of the second half, Roehl said.

Even so, the score mounted to 54-5 at halftime, a lead that activated the DODDS-Europe "courtesy-rule" tripwire of 39 points. According to DODDS policy, Roehl said, games are guaranteed to last a minimum of two quarters. After that, a 39-point-or-more lead requires both coaches, the officials and an administrator to meet and decide whether to end the game, use a running clock, ignore further scoring or play on normally.

"In this case," Roehl said, "[Shahan] even went to the visitors’ dressing room door to ask the FIS coach what Heidelberg could do to make this game a meaningful experience for the FIS players."

Moncrief elected to play on, Roehl said.

Roehl said Moncrief, whose team has lost big-margin games this season to other DODDS schools, told him that part of the problem was his team did not shoot or pass well that night. He said that since FIS scored more points in past games, the final scores did not look so bad.

FIS athletic director Kenneth Macauley told Stars and Stripes by telephone on Monday that his school has a long relationship with Heidelberg.

"We didn’t initiate a complaint," he said. "Heidelberg is a fantastic team, European champions, and we’re rebuilding."

According to Roehl, Moncrief said Heidelberg demonstrated good sportsmanship at all times and never showboated or taunted his team.

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