By Rob Todor
So, Ron Moschella, what do you think of adding two games to the high school basketball season?
“I think it’s great,” the long-time Boardman girls coach said on Thursday. “I’m all for playing more games … and practicing last.”
That sentiment is likely shared by the vast majority of players, as well, and their collective wishes were granted on Thursday by the Ohio High School Association.
The governing body’s board of directors — after voting down the proposal at least seven times before — approved by a 5-4 count to allow Ohio high schools to play two additional regular-season games, starting in 2012-13.
That should allow for more in-season tournaments — first-weekend tip-off tournaments, or holiday events — said Campbell Memorial boys coach Brian Danilov.
The Red Devils have traveled to Ironton for several years to play in a holiday tournament. Danilov hopes the additional games will generate more such events in the Mahoning Valley.
“A lot of teams have their schedule filled with league games, so this will allow them to maybe play that rival that got squeezed out before, or in a tip-off tournament,” he said, adding, “It’s about time.”
Moschella also hopes it will create new rivalries.
“With 20 games some people are a little apprehensive about playing that big marquee non-league game,” said Moschella, who’s taken several teams to the prestigious tournament at Berlin Hiland over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. “Maybe this will make them a little less apprehensive.”
Howland has also played in the Hiland tournament, and coach John Diehl said the Tigers are committed to in-season tournaments over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays this season.
“In January  we had one game per week until we switched some things around,” said Diehl, who led Howland to the AAC Red Tier championship last season. “By mid-January, everyone’s tired of practicing. We cut practice back to an hour and a half and watch more film.
“I’ve always been in favor of adding more games.”
OHSAA assistant commissioner Jerry Snodgrass, who oversees basketball, said the many years of arguments for and against the proposal “seemed to have exhausted themselves.”
“The coaches have used the rationale that more games will increase — potentially — revenues for the schools. On the surface, basketball makes money.
“And historically, Ohio has one of the fewer numbers [of games] around the country.”
That assertion was supported by Danilov.
“We played a Texas school [in Ironton] that came with 12 games played,” he recalled, “and we had two.”
Snodgrass said opponents of the proposal pointed to the traditionally difficult Ohio winters and the lack of gym time.
“For some schools getting in 20 games is almost an impossibility,” said Snodgrass.
The expanded schedule could also — in theory — add 12 games to a school’s overall schedule (boys and girls varsity, junior varsity and freshmen).
“The thing to remember,” noted Snodgrass, “is that you don’t have to schedule 22 games.
“You don’t have to schedule 10 football games, either. But you can if you want to. I think that’s a fair statement.”