Among the curious state specific rules and regulations installed by Texas’ University Interscholastic League is a decision that forces competing schools to negotiate whether their playoff series will be single game winner-take-all or best-of-three. If the two parties can’t agree, the decision goes to a coin flip.
That decision mechanism is frequently turning would-be three-game series into a one-off winner-take-all, a distinct leveler of the playing field between a top-seeded district champion and what is sometimes a fourth-seed in a nearby district.
“I’ve been wanting to go series every time. I’m getting outflipped,” Plano West coach Mike Ledsome told the Dallas Morning News. “I’m OK with either, but it just puts a little more pressure on you playing just that one game. You’ve got to play a great game. …
“Winning district right now, what do you get out of it? Really nothing. You’re playing the 4 seed, but when these districts match up that have good teams in them … it doesn’t really matter one through four. The team is good that you’re playing.”
Of course, competing a one-game playoff is not, in itself, an excuse for losing that game and facing elimination for a higher-seeded team. It is an excuse for being frustrated if that does happen, undoing a full season of work leading into the playoffs.