JERSEY CITY, NJ - The venue was moved back to the air conditioned confines of Dickinson High School this past week for the Jersey City Girls Summer League.
The sweltering humidity started to subside and instead of this sounding like a weather report, a rundown of the games officiated the past week. Most not too close but one team left a notable impression.
Tuesday July 10:
St. Anthony's 20 McNair 16
Score was tied at 8 at the half. In the stretch St. Anthony's built a lead they would not relinquish. In the final minutes McNair constantly came up empty. Coach Annie Cozzolino told me later, among her team's last ten free throws, they hit one. As Pete Carril often said, ‘the free throw line is the place you want a player to be selfish'.
Lincoln 55 St. Anthony's 9
St. Anthony's had to turn right around and face Lincoln. A tough task playing two straight. Regardless of the schedule, Lincoln just had too much for the Lady Friars. Lincoln ran the break well and had a solid inside player who was very active and an all Hudson County player as a freshman. She is definitely a player to watch (her name and a few notes on a future update).
Wednesday July 11:
McNair 38 St. Dominic's 17
McNair jumped out to a 21-4 halftime lead and was never challenged. The Lady Cougars had a very active post player working well inside and showing a nice touch around the basket. What a difference from the day before as the same post player was hardly a factor against St. Anthony's. Overall, a solid win for McNair.
Curtis 58 Bayonne 35
The meeting of two of the league's ‘elite' teams. Curtis of Staten Island got out to a quick lead they never relinquished. When St. Peter's of Staten Island closed Curtis was able to attract a number of their players and has a formidable squad. They run the break extremely well and have the luxury of several three point shooters. Bayonne trailed by 20 something throughout but made a second half run to cut the deficit to 11. Curtis then regrouped to put it away.
Annie Cozzolino is not always blessed with a wealth of talent. She works very hard, is prepared and her McNair players enjoy playing for her. In her case, like many coaches, the won-lost record does not accurately assess the effort on the sidelines.
- Thought she had a really nice baseline out of bounds play. the inbounder passes to the post. The post, if defended, kicks it to the inbounder who just stepped in bounds and went to the corner. Everytime McNair wound up with a wide open post move or 7 to 10 foot shot, by the inbounder, from this play. Now, if they can get someone to hit it consistently.....
- Some teams run on turnovers or defensive rebounds. Curtis runs even on an opponent ‘make'. The break is numbered, the ball moves and the secondary portion calls for a kick out to a three point shooter trailing. The system fatigues the defense and produces points in a hurry.
- Long time college supervisor, clinician and mentor Edgar Cartotto often said, "Only call a technical if it makes the game better." Case in point. Late in the game Curtis is leading Bayonne by about 26. There is a young lady from Curtis who smirks, rolls her eyes or shrugs everytime we call a foul against Curtis. I remember we had to stop the game earlier (she came late and we didn't catch it) for her wearing earrings. At any rate, three minutes to go she laughs to a teammate at our call against her. We line up for two free throws and I am the trail official with her ironically next to me. I simply say, "Aren't you the young lady who had the jewelry on ?" She replied yes. To which I said, "Have a good suggestion. Come to the game dressed properly to play and spend less time criticizing the officials." She looked with an expression of being simultaneously insulted and surprised. It worked. No ‘T' needed, message sent.
- Greetings from Essence: After covering the Liberty a week ago and interviewing Essence Carson, told her I was officiated the Jersey City League. Essence knows I officiate and it turned out she played against Bayonne and Hudson Catholic head coach Christ Altimirano while at East Side (Paterson, NJ) High School. At any rate Carson said, "Tell all of the league, players, coaches, everyone involved, I said hello. Tell them all good luck, enjoy playing and give them my regards."