Greater Spokane League administrators have decided to split boys and girls basketball into two divisions similar to football.
Beginning next year, 4A teams will play each other twice and play 3A teams once for 14 league games while 3A teams will play each other twice and the 4A teams once for 12 league games, GSL secretary Herb Rotchford confirmed. That opens up several opportunities for nonleague games to fill out a 20-game regular-season schedule.
“A lot of this is RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) driven,” Ferris athletic director Stacey Ward said.
The Central Valley girls’ RPI this year was greatly affected by playing games against weaker 3A league teams.
“Way overdue,” CV girls coach Freddie Rehkow said. “It’s necessary if the GSL (teams) are to get a fair RPI ranking. On the boys side there’s always been pretty balanced competition, but with the girls it’s been more unbalanced for a number of years. By opening up the schedule, all teams can find games that help their teams get a more balanced and competitive schedule.”
If the 4A and 3A teams can’t find enough games to fill out their schedules, they could agree to play nonleague games against each other.
Lewis and Clark boys coach Jim Redmon is excited about the change.
“It will allow all teams to get competitive games outside our league,” Redmon said. “It’ll also help us with the RPI. It’s good for the league. We needed to do it for a long time. What happened a few years ago with the football schedule allowed this change to happen.”
It’s as much a benefit for 3A teams as it is for 4A teams. The 3A teams’ RPI is negatively affected by playing a schedule overloaded with better 4A teams.
One nonleague game already agreed upon for next year features the Gonzaga Prep and Post Falls boys. G-Prep returns most of its players off a team that finished third at state. Post Falls returns all starters and all but one substitute off a team that won the 5A Inland Empire League title and advanced to state.
“It should be as big a regular-season game this area has seen in a while,” Post Falls coach Mike McLean said.
McLean is hopeful of adding more games with GSL schools.
“It will take time for some in the GSL to understand the advantages of making their schedules as difficult as possible,” McLean said.