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How the OHSAA breaks ties in high school sports

CLEVELAND, Ohio – As Saturday’s hockey state championship game showed, playing until somebody wins can mean nobody wins.

Could the events that led to St. Ignatius and Sylvania Northview sharing the hockey state title happen in another sport? Many sports sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association use tiebreaker rules that could lead to marathon events.

Here’s a look at how the OHSAA deals with overtime or extra play:

Note: Cross country, gymnastics, swimming/diving, track and field and wrestling have procedures for determining winners that do not include open-ended extra time/competition.

Baseball/softball: Baseball and softball games cannot end in a tie. A game suspended by darkness or weather can be continued at a later date from the point of suspension.

In 2010, Duncan Falls Philo and Thornville Sheridan set a state record with a 24-inning softball game. It began April 15 and was resumed/completed April 22. In 2001, Brunswick beat Elyria in a 21-inning sectional baseball tournament game.

Basketball: Overtime periods are played until a winner is determined. St. Clairsville and Martins Ferry played a state-record nine overtimes in 1963. Columbus Grove and Ottoville reached eight overtimes in 1984.

Bowling: Team score and individual score ties are broken by a ninth- and 10th-frame roll-off, which continues until the tie is broken.

Field hockey: Games tied after regulation can use up to two sudden victory periods. If neither team scores, a regular-season game ends in a tie, while a tournament game moves to penalty strokes (one-on-one scenario between player and goalie). Penalty strokes are best of five, followed by a sudden victory round of penalty strokes if needed.

Football: If a game is tied after regulation, each team gets an offensive possession from the opponent’s 20-yard line. If no winner is determined after one round of possessions, overtime play continues until a winner is determined.

Holgate and Wayne Trace played a state-record six-overtime game in 2002. Akron Manchester lost a five-overtime game to Germantown Valley View in the 1997 Division IV state final.

Golf: For individual golfers, playing additional holes can break tie scores.

Ice hockey: Regular-season games can end in a tie, but postseason tournament games play additional periods until a winner is determined. In 2007, Aurora beat Solon in a state-record eight overtimes.

Soccer: Regular-season games can end in a tie, but tournament games use up to two 15-minute sudden victory periods. If neither team scores in the extra time, the game moves to penalty kicks. If no winner is determined by a best-of-five format, sudden victory penalty kicks are used.

Tennis: A 12-point tiebreaker system can be used whenever a set reaches a 6-all tie. However, the tiebreaker continues until one player wins at least seven points and leads by two.

Volleyball: Games are to 25 points, but a team must win by two. Matches are best of five, and if needed, a fifth game is played to 15 (win by two). The OHSAA does not put a point cap on any games in a match.

Contact high school sports reporter Scott Patsko by email (spatsko@cleveland.com) or Twitter (@ScottPatsko). Or log in and leave a message in the comments section below.

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