Friday, January 11, 2013

Playoff Atmosphere

Coming into this high school season, I had every intention of limiting my schedule a bit.  Work was just too busy.  It was stressful trying to leave work early to make it to gyms in time for games.

However, I did receive a couple games from an assignor fairly early including one tonight.  Given my leave of absence last season, I figured they were non-marquee games and so I just accepted them and moved on. As the preseason wore on in 2012, something interesting happened.   The two teams I had tonight had established themselves as potentially the top two teams in the league.

My non-marquee game had suddenly turned into first meeting of the season between two teams who might meet again in the playoffs and/or championship.  The visiting team was the defending league champion and favorite to win the championship game.  The home team had established themselves as a solid team but was it enough to dethrone the defending champs? In an up and down game, the visitors rallied for a late five point deficit and knock off the home team 48-41.

How did the officiating go?  Overall, I think my partner and I did fine.  We faced several frustrating obstacles.  The first was that the gym where the game was played is not regulation length wise (it is wide enough).   It compacted things a bit and the game was a little physical.

My partner and I had discussed during the pre-game to "let the teams play a bit".   Both teams did play and we did let them try to play through things.  In the first half, we didn't have a lot of team fouls.  The second half played out similarly until the end when the home team has to foul to try to get back into the game.

The second obstacle was the scoreboard horn WAS NOT WORKING.  Overall, it wasn't a big deal EXCEPT for a play at the end of the second period.  The visiting team managed to secure the ball for a fast break in the final seconds.  The gym had only one scoreboard.  As the visiting player drove to the basket, I had to sneak peeks at both the player and the clock to see if the player got the shot off in time. In that situation, I wasn't particularly worried about a foul.  My partner told me there wasn't a foul but I learned how to handle it for the future.  If there is a play like that in the future, I would just make sure the shot got off in time and my partner would need to pick up defense and fouls.   We didn't really pre-game it as it's a rare situation for the horn not to work.

The last obstacle was the scorekeepers were not very experienced.  Lots of shot clock resets when it wasn't needed, lots of clocks not starting time and other things.  I corrected the clocks multiple times and know I probably missed a few as I did not want to impede the flow of the game (offensive team rebounded the ball, reset and took a quick shot).

There was also a Chris Webber moment.  The home team was trailing late and had the ball underneath their basket.  The visiting team defended the inbounds well and the home team player inbounding signaled for a timeout.  I remember thinking "Partner, ignore it" but he granted the timeout.  Unfortunately, the home team was OUT OF TIMEOUTS.  My partner noted he forgot that the home team was out of timeouts.   It wasn't really his fault nor the player's fault.  I had informed the home team coach that he has no more timeouts after the last one had been called a few minutes earlier.

Overall, the game itself was great.  The obstacles were a little annoying but overall the game was under control.  I had some fun as well.  Can't complain for a guy who doesn't have a lot of games to get a solid game under the beat.   One can dream, but I'd love to work these two teams again in the playoffs or championship!

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