The John F. Kennedy boys basketball team was 5-15 entering the postseason last year, but that didn't matter as the Eagles advanced to the Division IV district title game after going through a rigorous North Coast League schedule.
However, two more games during the regular season would've been appreciated, JFK coach Shawn Pompelia said.
Enter the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The state's governing body gave the Eagles two more opportunities prior to the playoffs. This season, Ohio boys and girls teams move from a 20-game schedule to a 22-game slate. It is the first time since the early 1980s when the state pushed schedules from 18 to 20.
"It just gives us two extra games for 2012-13 to fine tune some things for the tournament," Pompelia said. "It's really not going to change our philosophy or how we do things, but it's going to allow us to continue to work on what we're trying to achieve prior to the tournament."
However, teams are expected to play 22 games in the same time it took to play 20 games.
"They're expecting us to play 22 games in the same amount of time they're giving us for 20, which depends when Christmas and New Year's fall (on Tuesday)," said Maplewood girls basketball coach and athletic director Mark Yoder. "This year, Christmas and New Year's don't fall at a pretty good time, especially for girls games because it takes a game away each week. That leads us to squeeze in Saturday games.
"If you have 22 games, give us another week to play them."
However, it has allowed both Maplewood teams to get squads it normally wouldn't get on a 20-game slate. The boys got Lakeview back on its schedule, while the girls are playing Lowellville and Newton Falls.
"Back when I was playing, we played Lakeview two times," Yoder said. "It was a good rivalry game. It was a team that was close to home. Over the last several years we haven't been playing them, mostly because of the big conference they were (All-American Conference) in they had to play a lot of conference games. Playing those two extra games allowed us to get a neighboring school district that was close to home back on our schedule."
Windham's girls coach Gregg Isler said the Bombers are playing teams like Lowellville, Marlington and Dalton this season.
"One thing it has let us do is add some teams that we've wanted to play," Isler said.
The two extra games mean more than just two extra regular season games for some teams.
"A definite advantage, as far as our boys games," Yoder said. "That's our athletic department's biggest money maker is boys basketball since we don't have football. As far as revenue for the athletic department, it's a definite benefit."
Despite 22 games, it isn't as big as Pennsylvania's slate.
"I prefer 20, but it gives you two more opportunities to play," Niles boys basketball coach Ron Price said. "It's good for the kids. It's really not a major deal. We've been fighting for that for a while with Pennsylvania playing 26 or 27 or whatever they play. I still prefer 20, but that's me."
As for JFK, they're making the adjustment to play 22 games, especially playing in the Cleveland-based NCL.
"We played a lot of back-to-back games last year, so we are playing a lot of Tuesday and Friday games this year," Pompelia said. "That will get away from the back-to-back, especially when we're traveling to Cleveland. Last year, we'd travel on a Friday night up to Cleveland then play a local team on Saturday. By the time we'd get home at 11:30 at night, it was just wearing on the kids. We tried to space the scheduling out so we're not back-to-back.
"But, we play a few more games during the Christmas holiday, when the young men are not in school."