McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local Sports

January 26, 2014

Final observations from the Pitt 8

(Continued)

McALESTER —

Either way, it made for some terrific games.

Overly aggressive refereeing?

Criticizing referees is often a fruitless, anemic response to losing a game. But the various refereeing crews did seem inclined towards more aggressive penalizing in the 22 games of the 2014 Pitt 8 Tournament.

Several games featured a team in the bonus or double-bonus for an entire quarter or more. The Lady Panthers beat the Savanna Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals primarily because the Lady Panthers took way more free throws and the Lady Bulldogs had to sit their best players throughout the second half due to foul trouble.

Only a handful of players fouled out all tournament, and the refs only once issued a technical foul against a coach for arguing. But refs who call more fouls are more likely to be accused of calling fouls unfairly, and the latter days of the tournament saw multiple coaches and fanbases barking at the refs for seemingly unbalanced foul-calling.

Considering the problems teams had with the Southeast Expo Center court itself, refs could’ve been at least a little more lenient with traveling violations. And speaking of the court...

Court definitely affected games

Any number of factors can make a basketball court more or less slick — the wax finish, dust, even humidity. But whatever the reasons why, the Southeast Expo Center court was a far slicker surface than any of the Pitt 8 teams were used to.

Several coaches and players called it the worst court on which they’d ever played, adding that even at last year’s tournament — which used the same court — slickness wasn’t an issue. One Kiowa player compared it to trying to play basketball on a Slip ‘n Slide.

Of course, all 16 teams played on the same court. But faster teams that rely on fastbreaks and transition buckets — teams like the Cowboys, Hornets and Lady Panthers — tend to rely on the court more than slower teams.

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