Taking the Whistle to Linden

     It is not all tempo-free studies, analysis, covering and watching games. For over two decades, twenty three years to be exact, I have been a basketball official. Tonight called for two contests in the Linden, NJ team camp.


    "bring your 'A' game", said Dennis Allocco in his email to officials working the games. Dennis is a Division I official and a good friend I have attended officiating camp with. He assigns the Linden camp and let us know the likes of St. Anthony, St. Pat's, Linden and Seton Hall Prep, just to name a few , would be in attendance. The 'camp' is more a round robin of games at different sites in Linden. Games are Monday through Thursday at 5, 6, 7, 8. Teams generally play two a night.  Games are four ten minute quarters running time with stop clock on whistles the last two minutes of each half. We are at McManus Middle School. A good venue for 8th grade ball. This however is high school varsity and the players are restricted by the smaller court. We, and they, have adjustments to make. The scores :


Newark Tech                     52                                Middletown North              40


Shabazz                           70                                   Raritan                                38


     The first game epitomized how a team could use the smaller court to an advantage. Tech wanted to get out and run. Middletown North made a concerted effort to stop transition and play zone in half court. It worked. After trailing by double digits early, North drew even in the second half and only a late spurt by Tech in the fourth quarter sealed the verdict.  

     The second game saw Raritan match Shabazz of Newark for a quarter before the latter ignited their lethal transition game Shabazz had a post player about 6-9 who had a few very impressive dunks then proceeded to go to the perimeter to bury three deep treys. A matchup problem indeed.

     Arrived about a half hour before my games. Watched Seton Hall Prep easily dispatch of Raritan. From that game and the one worked against Shabazz, it's evident Raritan is 'playing up' this week. In other words, the coach has entered his team against tougher competition in the hopes of making them better in the long run.

    Worked with a very good partner, Vinny, who does a number of high school games in this area during the regular season. First time we worked but there was a good chemistry and communication on the floor. That is priceless in officiating terms and not always achieved the first time working with someone.

   Several times players received a win pass only to hear a whistle. On the line. The teams struggled early with offensive spacing but they did adjust as the night wore on.

   A former player for the powerful Linden program was working our scorer's table. He did a nice job. again, a good scorer's table helps your game go so much smoother.

    Coaches were very good to work for and the fans well behaved. You take those nights and 'run with them'. Back on Wednesday for two more contests.

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