The Harlem Montana Dunk

Since the issue of Montana players dunking has been a topic of converstion as of late, I thought I would post an article on another Montana Dunk that is getting some national puplisity today. Here is an article from Rivals.com about the dunk that cuase Harlem Montana to have to forfiet a tournement game last week. it has been picked up by a number of noational news organizations.

Ray Glier

This was a “teaching” moment that comes up for high
school coaches from time to time.
You know, one of those, “We just got a bad
break, and that’s life, we have to deal with it.”

A shattered backboard
sent Harlem to the losers bracket.On March 5 in Cut Bank, Mont., Isaiah Martin,
a 5-foot-11 senior guard for Harlem’s boys basketball team, dunked during
warmups for a high school tournament game with Shelby.
There was a shower of
glass as the backboard shattered.
Harlem had to forfeit the game.
According to the Montana High School Association, dunking is not allowed in
pregame warmups in tournament play. If a backboard is damaged by a pregame dunk,
the offending school must forfeit. The rule was put in 10 years ago.
which had finished second in its district, forfeited the Northern Divisional
game to Shelby. Harlem was dumped into the loser’s bracket and won on Friday
night, but on a quick turnaround Saturday morning it lost in overtime and was
“We had that talk about life being tough and you roll with the
punches and how you pick yourself up,” Harlem coach Harlan Mount said. “It took
a lot out of the team.”
Almost a week later, you could hear the dismay in
the 48-year-old Mount’s voice, as if the talk and the lesson did not soothe his
team’s disappointment. The Wildcats had made a 168-mile trip only to be left
face-down with an improbable forfeit, which goes down in the books as a 2-0
“I was stunned,” Mount said. “At first, the tournament official came
to our locker room and said it would probably be a technical for breaking the
backboard. Then he came back and asked me to step outside with him. It was in
the rule book, in black and white.
“I thought it was harsh.”
The Harlem
fans made the 168-mile trip, paid for their tickets, took their seats, but did
not get their money back when their team forfeited.
Mount understands a rule
was broken and there are consequences, but he has other questions. There was a
thunderous dunk, he said, in the game before Harlem took the floor, a dunk he
heard in his team’s locker room.
Did anyone inspect the backboard?
“Isaiah is a buck-fifty, maybe 160 pounds,” Mount said. “Hard to believe a
kid at that weight shattered a backboard. Was it already defective?”
If a
backboard is broken with a dunk in a game, Mount said there is a technical
called, but it is not a forfeit. He wonders why there is a difference.
said he told his team no dunking in pregame warmups, but when he got to the
tournament there were other teams dunking in pregame. He told his kids it was
Brian Kavanagh, the coach at Cut Bank, said after Harlem forfeited that
players on other teams approached the rim gingerly in pregame warmups and there
were no more pregame dunks. A lesson had been learned the hard way.
finished the season 13-10. It was a good record in a rebuilding year, but the
Wildcats expected better in the postseason. After all, they were the only team
to beat the top seed in the division all season.
Mount is Director of the
Native American Career and Technical Education Program at the Fort Belknap
College. It is a tribal college, which is near the Native American reservations
in north Montana – almost on the Canadian border. He is training students for
real life and jobs.
His team’s forfeit was just some more real-life,
on-the-job training.



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