Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Game Log 1/5/2010: Boys' doubleheader

For the first time, I was assigned a boys' JV/Varsity doubleheader tonight. I've done boys' varsity before, but only as a part of girls/boys doubleheaders that the tiny-tiny schools do. These schools were merely small.

To be honest, I was quite nervous before the game, in a way I haven't been all year long. But I was a part of a good crew (including a 30-plus-year veteran), and the night went pretty well, all things considered.

The JV game was 100% uneventful. Got a moving screen early, flew through the first half without any bonus free throws, and made it through a surprising blowout second half (the team that was down by 10 at half outscored their opponents something like 30-3 in the second half. It was crazy.).

The Varsity game is the one I'll remember.

As my partner pointed out, it was a game that forced us to make a lot of decisions. Little handchecks, little bits of contact on rebounds, incidental crashes on loose balls...which ones do we like?

First, the Green coach was bummed because his team had committed 6 fouls to his opponents' 2. Then, the White coach was bummed because the next several fouls were on him. "We've had four in a row against us!" he said. I didn't see why that was significant. His kids kept fouling, and he thought it was ridiculous that they'd get to 15 in a half. Obviously, my partners and I did not feel the same.

The third quarter was crazy. Partner called a T on a kid for in-bouding the ball and then standing out of bounds for a few seconds. Coach's argument was "He was only there for three seconds!" The argument proved the infraction.

Then came a bizarre double-whistle. I was T on a full-court press, doing the ten-second count. I got to ten, tooted my whistle, and held up "Ten seconds!" Unfortunately, my partner tooted his whistle at the same time because White had called time out. We came together. He said he had the time out before the ten-second count. I said that it was close, and I thought it pertinent that the shot clock had ticked down 13 seconds. It seemed to me that, with that evidence sitting in front of everyone, it was the safer route to call ten seconds. We did. I stand by that.

Finally, I had the last shot at the end of the third quarter. It was an unusual gym with a clock at only one end, so I was keeping a corner of an eye on it when there was a steal and a break for White. I hauled my butt down the court, waiting for a possible crash on the breakaway layup and listening for the buzzer all at the same time. Stealer went up--and I had a block, a clear no-call. But I was taken by surprise by the second shot that took place as soon as the player recovered the ball. I had another no-call, but it's one I'm a little less confident in.

The third quarter therefore ended with some of the loudest boos I've ever endured.

Here's the thing: it didn't bother me. It surprises me, sometimes, to notice how much I've improved and matured as an official in the past few years. I was totally calm under great stress.

Of course, my veteran partner put it best, I believe. "Well, guys, we're not going to redeem ourselves in White's eyes. So let's just go out and keep reffing our game."

The best part: the fourth quarter was awesome.

Coach started the fourth quarter by saying "He was fouled on the layin." I asked "Which one?" and he said "Both!" I responded thusly: "Coach, I had a good look at the first one. The second one...well..." Coach nodded, and that ended that.

Not long thereafter, I had a stone-cold push-off on White's big post kid. Two hands on the upper back, and he then gathered in the ball for a laying. From my position as C, I had it perfectly, so I closed and sold it.

My mojo with the White coach continued. "He only had one hand! It was just one hand getting the ball! He can't have pushed off."

My response was 100% effective. "Coach, if that's what you saw, the you started watching the play a little after I did. The push was before that."

He nodded.

Man, do I love feeling competent. And tonight's games have given me confidence for boys' games in the future. I still have some work to do, to be sure--I need to be prepared for more blocked/challenged shots than I'm accustomed to on the girls' side. But this was a tight, stressful game in which I felt neither tight nor stressful. The game could have gone into the crapper in the fourth quarter, but it didn't. Most of the credit for that belongs to the players, but a lot goes to us, and I'm proud of that.

THINGS I DID WELL: Coach communication, rotations
THINGS TO WORK ON: Adjustments to boys' game

NEXT UP: Tiny-school girls/boys varsity on Thursday night.


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