Wednesday, February 17, 2010

All Officials hope for is.............


Well, maybe we hope for a little more than too. However, a competitive game is probably among the top 3 items that officials want. After all, a competitive game keeps the teams, fans and officials engaged. To be perfectly honest, nothing beats being an official in a competitive game with a lot of screaming fans (unless you're a player in the same game!)

That being said, I had a great night tonight. I worked two 6th grade boys youth basketball league championship games. Both games came down to the the final possession with the first game ending in a 30-29 score and the second game ending at 31-28.

What made the experience even more intense was that the games were held at a very small facility with a court that is lightly smaller than the standard high school court. Also, the seating was very limited so fans were lined up all along the walls.

I love these kind of games because I just tune out everyone (even if the fans are screaming next to me) and focus on the game. I worked with two good parters and had a good time. I wish we could have this kind of experience every game but that's a pipe dream.

My youth league boys season ends after tonight and now I wait for a couple of weeks for the girls season. Not a bad way to end it tonight!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Season Finale (possibly)

Out here where I officiate, there's a Catholic high school league that is considered the most competitive in the area for both the boys and girls. Teams from several cities in the area play in the league. Unfortunately, there are only three boys schools and two girls schools which play in the city I officiate. That means the games are scarce and assignors are pretty picky about who gets to officiate a game in the league.

Fortunately for me, I was assigned my first ever game (girls) in the league back in September of 2009. The game was tonight and it was a great experience.

I can't say I was super nervous in the days leading up to the game. In fact, I was busy officiating youth, high school and adult league games throughout the week. I also studied my officiating manual to remind myself of the three-person mechanics. While I am not a great official and don't work three person games often, I am familiar enough with the mechanics. I just don't practice them that often.

As my work day ended today and game time approached, I made my way to the gym. I arrived about 45 minutes before game time with the JV girls game going on. The other two officials had already arrived and were observing the officials working the JV game.

As the JV game entered the fourth quarter, all three of us went to the change area to prep for our varsity game. I had worked with both of the other officials before and felt comfortable. We pre-gamed a little bit and went out to the court. My personal goal for the varsity game was to stay focused and keep to my primary areas of coverage.

After the pregame festivities (Senior Night, National Anthem, introductions), the game started and I was now in the line of fire. In the first couple of minutes, I held my whistle a lot. I passed on what might have been a foul and also a potential traveling call. In fact, I don't think I called a foul during the entire first quarter.

I finally did get involved in the game in the second quarter. The action seemed to go a lot toward my partners so I didn't have a lot of fouls or other things to call.

The third quarter started and I briefly lost focus. The visiting team had the ball and the home team defender was riding the offensive player. I passed on the initial foul as the offensive player made the way to the basket. The defensive player kept riding the offensive player before I finally whistled the defender for the foul. I should have called the foul earlier but waited a few seconds too late. My partners later said that it was good I did get the foul, but should have gotten it earlier.

I think this situation throw me off a bit. I got a little nervous a couple of plays later. The home team's center rebounded the ball and a player from visiting team smacked into the center. However, the center was unfazed and actually retained control of the ball. However, I was a little too quick on the whistle and called the foul. After the game, my partners understood why I called the foul because they saw the situation develop. However, they reminded me to hold my whistle longer.

Despite a tough way to start the third quarter, I managed to regain my focus. I held my whistle a bit and tried to let the game come to me. For the rest of the game, I felt like I was in control and did my part to keep the game in control.

The final score of the game was 45-44.

Overall, I felt like I did ok. I wasn't perfect and have things to work on. However, it is good to know what I can work some games at this level. I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I definitely enjoyed tonight's experience.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Traditional Two Person Mechanics vs. Split Key Mechanics

Tonight, I worked a very competitive JV girls basketball game that came down to the final minute. However, a coaching blunder by the visiting coach cost her team a chance to tie the game. The score 42-39 with the home team leading and having possession of the ball. There were 40 seconds left in the game and 25 seconds remained on the shot clock. A timeout had been called and I talked to my partner telling her that the visiting team would likely try to play defense straight up and try to get possession for the last shot.

After the timeout, the visiting team played defense. For about 10 seconds that is. For some unexplainable reason, the visiting team coach directed her team to foul. Unfortunately, for the visiting team, they only had three team fouls at that point and that compounded the coaching mistake. By the time the home team got to the bonus, only 11 seconds remained. The home team made 1 free throw and the visiting team could not score and the final was 43-39.

Besides the game itself, the officiating was solid. I liked working with my partner and we communicated well. The only thing that I needed to work on was getting back to the "traditional" two person mechanic of covering the whole key as a lead official. My partner preferred that to the split-key mechanic, which a lot of officials who do three person prefer.

There was some adjustments to be made though I did still get some fouls as a trail with the action going into the key. All in all, the game was fun and officiating was decent. If only all games were like this!