Monday, February 02, 2009

Game Log 2/2/09: Good partners, smooth sailing

The #2 team in the state faced a 1-15 squad tonight. First time they'd faced each other, it was a final score of high double-digits against single-digit. Tonight, the #2 team in the state used this as an opportunity to play their JV. (1-15 had no JV, so we did a freshman/varsity doubleheader. The varsity game was the only way JV would get any work in tonight.) Net result: no real issues.

Freshman game was fairly easy. There was one interesting call where I was T running behind the press when players tried to pin the dribbler against the sideline after a long pass. There was a bit of traffic between me and her, and I saw her step out of bounds. Coach wanted a push. I told her I'd watch for it, but I saw pretty good straight-up defense.

The losing team only had 7 players. When one fouled out with about 5 minutes to go, I remembered that another had four fouls. I ran to my partners. "23 White has four fouls," I told both.

Sure enough, about 30 seconds later, 23 White absolutely creamed a girl on the shot. Couldn't ignore it. Dammit, 23, we tried to cut you some slack, but you wouldn't let us! But I still give myself credit for game awareness and communication.

Other than that--no issues at all.

The Varsity game meant dealing with the coach of the #2 team, who is known to go after people a little bit. I received my baptism on a shooting foul. I'm L, and right in front of me was a colossal hack...whole hand and forearm on whole hand and forearm. The sound, the sight...pretty major-league foul against #2 team. The ball made its way up to the rim, bounced there three times, and fell in. Pretty clear and-one.

I was quite surprised that the coach selected that call to get after me on. We could have called that one from the top row blindfolded. His complaint:

"That must have been quite a hack if the ball was able to get up there and bounce on the rim a bunch of times."

All I could say back was "Coach, it was all arm." I think I even smiled a bit. It was clear I was being tested, but really, on such an obvious call? Probably just a pre-test. I'll get a bigger one when I see him next week, I imagine.

If I'd had time to give a full essay response, I'd have cited this excellent article in which a physics professor says that, if the ball goes up to the rim, there's a greater chance that the player was fouled, not less. The laws of physics say so! But I didn't. Thankfully for both of us.

What I liked most about this game is how we stuck with it to the end. I even had an off-ball call with 30 seconds left when 1-15's center put a forearm to the back and knocked a player to the floor. Can't do that...don't care. I'll admit I took a pass when the losing team fouled the winning team on a 30-foot three-point heave at the buzzer. No need to stick around to shoot three. Coach wanted them, but by the time he registered his protest, I was halfway to the locker room.

One of the top officials in our association--one of my favorites--was working with me and a frequent 2-person partner of mine tonight. He was working heavily with my partner all night (partner was doing far too much ball-watching). He had very little to recommend for me tonight. At the end, all he said was that my mechanics need to tighten up...I'm too loosey-goosey. Yup...I know that. I just have to figure out how to tighten it up. Perhaps I'll join the Marines.

THINGS I DID WELL: Stayed focused in blowout, coach management, called it to the end
THINGS TO WORK ON: Loosey-goosey mechanics, not rotating correclty on free throws sometimes (I want to run down from away-from-table-side to administer when L calls the foul).
NEXT UP: Next up is a fairly decent test, actually. It won't make the front page of the sports section, but it's a big matchup against .500 girls' teams. There's significant playoff positioning at stake. And I'm the R. Again...they've quickly started trusting me more and more...I've got to make it a good one.


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