Final Night at Linden

     The last evening of the Linden team camp started with some confusion but everything worked out in the end.


      My games were the early ones, 5 and 6 PM. Naturally the New Jersey Turnpike refused to cooperate so I was about three minutes late for game one. Partner Fred Gaines tipped it off and got the teams, St. Pat's and Linden (two elite programs), off and running.

    Working the first quarter when assignor Dennis Allocco shows. He wonders if I got there early and covered for him. I said that my email said the assignment on Thursday was at Linden High School. Turns out the email came through literally scrambling tonight's assignments and courts (thanks AO'Hell'). Dennis said go to the Rec Center, Linden Assistant Marty Luc confirmed I should be there. Got in the car and drove the mile or so to the center on John Street.  Get there and two officials are already working. The gentleman on the scorer's table calls Marty and at the half we sort things out. I will work the second half of game one and all game two and will be finished. One official stays with me and the other is off until 7 pm and the third set of games.

  Everything settled we get into a game tied at 20 at halftime. St. Pat's B team  is facing East Orange. It is a competitive game but East Orange is more active on the glass . That is a big factor in their 38-34 victory.

   Game two is the full (worked) contest:

St. Joe's(Metuchen)             58                         Ridge    44

   Expected a close one and was not disappointed. The score is deceptive as a dominant fourth quarter allowed St.Joe's to pull away. Ridge has been strong in New Jersey circles the past few seasons. Some of those better players are graduated but there is talent on hand and like St.Joe's, they do a nice job of playing together. Both teams move the ball well and can hit the perimeter shot. The difference is St.Joe's had the effective inside game which made a huge difference. Number 25 of St.Joe's is having another excellent night. He is about 6-7, very athletic, can put the ball on the deck and has a great basketball IQ. One St.Joe's assistant said he is a junior with a good amount of mid-major attention. St.Joseph's of the A-10 however, is particularly interested.

   At the buzzer that is it for my assignment. A rewarding week overall. A slight bit of confusion early but staging four games a night at four different sites from Monday through Thursday is not easy. The Linden staff did a great job and were very gracious hosts for the event.

  The teams and coaches would love to win. More important, the week gave them a chance to see where their teams are and what needs to be addressed and corrected. For us as officials, the same points can be said and emphasized.

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