Maybe you’ve heard, maybe you haven’t, but Gardiner doesn’t exactly have a gym anymore. That storm that took out your power for a couple of days? Well, it took out the roof of the gym at Gardiner High School, which then allowed it to dump a lot of water on the floor and, well, you get the idea.
So Gardiner doesn’t exactly have a gym at the moment. By all accounts, the people at Gardiner and the surrounding schools have done a fantastic job pulling together in an unusual situation to come up with a solution, which is to have Gardiner play their home games at the Augusta Civic Center. This, if you’re on Gardiner’s team (or even on their schedule), is a pretty cool solution, and the ACC is only 12.8 miles from the high school, so it’s hardly a major inconvenience. You could do a lot worse.
Of course, for our purposes, this is a bit of a conundrum. The ACC is a neutral floor. More importantly, it’s the neutral floor Gardiner will play on in the Tournament. The NCAA, for example, won’t let you play a tournament game at a site where you’ve played 3 times. So to play 9 times? It’s hard to argue that’s a neutral site.
There’s a couple of ways to handle this:
1. Ignore it
I don’t see how this is a viable option. Home Court Advantage is pretty well documented. 9 games is a lot of games to have played in a gym. The MPA allows teams in the state game a practice on the floor, specifically because of this concern. It’s a thing. You can’t ignore it.
Normally, I’d lead the "Gardiner can’t play on their home floor!!!" brigade, but these are special circumstances.
Portland should never ever ever ever ever be allowed to play a tourney game at the Expo. Ever. It’s a travesty that this is even considered.
2. All the Home Court
This option is simple: the ACC is Gardiner’s home court now. They own it. Paint an orange paw on the wood, give Munzing Media a VIP section, and call it a day.
This is better than option 1, but it’s not great. That first game at the ACC (December 12th vs. Leavitt for the boys; December 15th against Cony for the girls) should effectively be a neutral floor game.
3. A Little Bit of Column A…
This is where I think we’ll end up.
That first game will be a neutral floor game. The tournament games will not. By that point they’ll definitely have a home court advantage, and at the best possible time.
I’ll tweak the details, but it’ll look a little like this: every game Gardiner plays at the ACC will impact their HCA a little bit. Think of it as a sliding scale. Game 2 will be a little stronger than Game 1. At some point, it’ll be their home floor. My gut says after 4 or 5 games, but I’ll have to dig a little bit.
Thing is, this will impact other teams. So if you play a game at Bangor in the regular season, you might get a slight HCA in the tourney over a team that didn’t. It complicates things, but it’s the only fair way to do it.
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