How should a ref manage a 30-0 JV basketball game?

Photo by Ray Floriani.

Last week saw the McNair JV girls team defeat an opponent 30-0. How much benefit of the doubt should a ref give the losing team?

JERSEY CITY, NJ - The final score was 30-0. McNair JV girls defeated University Charter in a meeting of Jersey City based schools last week.

Outside it was a frigid eight degrees. Inside, the shooting percentages were on the cold side as well. None like that of University Charter.

From the early moments, both teams had difficulty scoring. McNair eventually found its groove. University Charter never did. Despite their offensive difficulties yours truly felt somewhat responsible for the shutout. An explanation:

McNair was ahead about 22-0 as the third quarter wound down. I was the trail official as a University Charter player attempted a shot just inside half court. The shot was about a second late. I waived it off only to see it bank in. The call was right. Even the university Charter coach did not disagree. Still, wish I held the whistle a second later and counted it in the name of game management.

Before the fourth quarter my partner and I discussed the game. Any close plays we would call a foul and get charter on the line. Again, game management - giving the weaker team the benefit of a close call in a blowout. As it turned out Charter shot threes. Playing smart defense McNair did not foul on the perimeter. Twice we were able to get charter on the line thanks to a few rare penetrations in the lane. On both occasions they missed both attempts. As the late Al McGuire would say their 'rim was a tea cup'.

In the following days, I discussed the play at the end of the third with several officials. One who works high school and D II and III said I could have changed my decision on the spot and counted it. I replied saying that could have embarrassed the losing team by saying they needed the basket because we (officials) felt they couldn't score. The official and a few others agreed with me.

On Sunday Niagara was visiting St. Peter's in a women's contest. MAAC women's officiating supervisor Marty Novitch said my actions were correct.

"You and your partner met (before fourth quarter) and tried to get them on the line. They had another full quarter to score. I wouldn't worry, you and your partner handled it right."

Gary Schimel, the lead official on the crew at St. Peter's, is someone I had as a mentor at officiating camp several years ago. Schimel's assessment was, "You followed the rules. They did not get the shot off before the buzzer that is the rule."

McNair coach Amanda Rosato did not press a second, did not trap at all nor push the ball in transition. As we discussed the game afterward, McNair AD Hugh Dwyer joked, "Are you writing a critical article about Amanda running up the score?" As noted Dwyer was kidding and assured Rosato she did everything possible to keep the score down.

Thirty to nothing. A night later at the Prudential Center covering Seton Hall-Villanova, I ran into a friend who scouts prospects for an NBA club. I told him about the score to which he said,"Thirty-nothing, you can't make that up."

Wish I could.

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