Photo by Ray Floriani.
Notes from a girls AAU game not far from Rutgers University, where focus and ball movement helped to overcome a press.
Franklin Township, NJ - Not far from the campus of Rutgers University, is the site of an officiating assignment from the past Saturday.
The schedule calls for a girls travel game followed by a boy's contest. The focus here is on the former game, a seventh grade girls game, while the latter did have an interesting sidebar.
Lady Heat 31, Team Miller 23
The Lady Heat got out to an 11-2 start. They surrendered size to Team Miller but compensated with good ball movement and some impressive outside shooting. Maybe too impressive.
On one occasion the coach called out a play 'Texas' for the Heat to run. The result was an ill advised attempt from beyond the arc.
"That is not Texas," the coach bellowed to his team.
Put that remark in my notebook during a time out. Really didn't need to as it stood out prominently. Yours truly thought of some lighter remarks to share with the coach (sometimes in Rick Barnes' system it is) but decided silence was the best.
Team Miller closed late and trailed 11-6 at the half. The second half saw the Lady Heat go on a short run to increase the lead to double digits. Team Miller full court pressured but the Heat beat it with their passing and ball movement. Team Miller hung tough but did not have enough to overcome the Heat. The final saw the Lady Heat 31-23 winners.
The Lady Heat hail from the Readington, Flemington (Western New Jersey) area. Team Miller gets the name from coach Lance Miller. He played at Villanova in the 90's and has his three daughters on this team. Lance is not just coaching his daughters - he is totally immersed in the girl's game and really enjoys working with everyone in his program.
"The biggest thing," he did say, "is with the girls you have to make sure they maintain that focus every day."
In general Miller agreed, as many males who played and got into coaching girls/women note, the girls are more coachable and receptive to coaching.
I mentioned that another former Villanova player, Check Everson, is coaching his daughter's program on Long Island.
"Chuck and I just got done doing a clinic together," Miller said smiling.
Game over. Lance Miller wears his other hat as tournament administrator. No complaints as he knows it just goes with the territory and he is pleased the tournament is running on time and very smooth.
Game Two was a high school freshman level boy's game with a very strong Team Couch program from New York City. My officiating partner was Cecil King. Our assignment was a boy's contest but that didn't stop us from discussing, at time outs and halftime, the girls game in general. King, who coached WNBA star Tina Charles in AAU also had some interesting insights, which were worthy of another column.
Just two games but a wealth of stories and insight came as a bonus.