JERSEY CITY, NJ - Headline writing is not a personal forte. Sometimes in the course of events there is a verbal exchange, play or incident that jumps out at you. A headline is born. This was the case in a quarterfinal game last week in the Jersey City Girls Summer League.
North Bergen 33 Newark Collegiate 31
During pre-game, officiating partner ‘Flip’ Washington warned that the Newark Collegiate coach would frequently ‘express his opinion’. Collegiate was playing North Bergen in a four versus five seed meeting. Two close seeds normally suggests a competitive game to begin with.
We had just that. North Bergen saw their point guard foul out with a five point lead and just four minutes to play. They were able to ’survive and advance’ as a potential game winning three and a put back by Collegiate in the final seconds did not make the mark.
The close contest saw the Collegiate coach receive a verbal admonition and then, early in the second half, a technical foul. But the thing that really had an impression - and not favorable - on us as officials was the way he berated his kids. The quoted headline was something he shouted to one of his players. High school players are between the ages of 13 and 17 years of age. A comment like that can "scar a kid for life" - the opinion of several coaches I discussed the statement and incident with.
On the college level, I have heard coaches tell a player something like, "You are so dumb it’s incredible." A few differences here - the college players are getting an education paid for, they are more mature being between the ages of 18-24 and they realize a coach doesn’t truthfully mean it but is saying this in the heat of battle. An added note, an exchange of this nature is usually one-on-one on the team bench or in the huddle, never screamed out for all to hear.
There were areas the Collegiate players needed work. Not a surprise. And summer is the time to get that work in and improve, not be subjected to maniacal rants from the sidelines. They were genuinely trying. It was to the point you genuinely felt bad for the verbal ‘abuse’ they were subject to.
In the summer, you may have a sub-varsity coach or a parent running the team. I do not know if the Collegiate coach was the varsity head coach or fit the classification of the coaches previously noted. One certainty is the school should be more judicious regarding who is working with the young ladies in the basketball (or any other) program during the summer. It’s not only about wins and losses.
Curtis 37, Bayonne 29
During the regular season Curtis won this matchup by about 30 points. In this quarterfinal, they were tested. The perimeter in the dribble drive was drying up. Bayonne was playing with more confidence and led for a fair portion of the contest. The winning trait for Curtis was their poise. They did not panic and once they realized the outside shots weren’t falling they utilized ball reversal out of transition. That ball reversal afforded a number of extra pass looks to open cutters. Again, staying with their transition and ball movement allowed the Staten Island team to emerge victorious.