Tonight it was back to the Linden team camp for the 7 & 8 o'clock games. My assignment was at the Rec Center. Linden assistant coach Marty gave me the address but a certain online search sends me to Rahway.
It is 6:50, I am driving aimlessly in Rahway and wonder if the first game will be made. There is a billboard proclaiming 'Shop Rite supports local farmers'. One problem, New Jersey may be the 'garden state' but there isn't a farm to be found for miles. Oil refineries ? Yest, and pleny of them nearby. Checking the printed directions a few streets are familiar. Eventually I work my way to the center. One of the officials from the first two contests starts it up as I quickly get the striped shirt on before hitting the floor. In total about ninety seconds were missed. The scores :
Rutgers Prep 63 East Orange 52
St. Joseph's (Metuchen) 72 Sayreville 46
Rutgers Prep had outstanding guard play. They spread the floor, handled pressure and penetrated to set up kickouts to the perimeter that resulted in open threes. That they usually drained. They had a good big man, about 6-8 or so and active. One assistant told me he just attended Princeton's camp and already has Ivy League schools very interested.
Worked with an official from the Jersey Shore (the area not the reality show thank God). It was our first time working together and we had a good chemistry and consistency. On the evening we did have two technicals. In game one the East Orange coach got a T from my partner for excessive 'wordiness'. In game two we had a hard foul in transition and players involved get in the face and bump each other, double T courtesy of yours truly. Outside of those two sequences, a good and calm night.
St. Joseph's is the high school alma mater of Ernest Bynum and Jay Williams. St. Joseph's did not have anyone at that rarified level but they did have talent, depth and played well together. They had too much for Sayreville who did have a few good three point shooters.
At the quarter Sayreville trailed 23-6 and St. Joseph's put in the second unit t start the second quarter."Let's see what we do against the second unit," one Sayreville parent said with a laugh as I got ready to start the second quarter.
My toss to start game two was not good. One player seeing it said, "oh s__t." To which I said, "never mind that stuff, just play." And they did.
Ran into a familiar face spotted in the stands. Mary Coyle, who played for the Rutgers women in the early Eighties was in attendance. Had the pleasure of covering several of her games as I really got into women's basketball at that time. She is AD at Rutgers Prep and coaches the girls team. Her son was one of those excellent Prep guards alluded to earlier. We chatted a few minutes between games. Just amazing as you never know who you will run into at these events. And from an officiating perspective, you never know who is watching.