Should refs feel sorry for teams being out played and as a result call a game differently then they normally would?
We have all seen it many times before. One team is dominating another team, so the refs limit the fouls against the inferior team. At the same time, the refs call a tight game against the superior team. I believe that the refs do this to keep the score reasonable and to keep the lopsided game moving.
This past weekend, my daughter's team breezed through a tournament and advanced to the finals as the number one seed .
As the number one seed, we played our semi-final game from 3p to 4p against the 4th seed. We won 38-25. The 2nd and 3rd seeded teams played from 4p to 5p. The 3rd seeded team advanced. Our team beat the 3rd seeded team by 10 points during pool play.
The gym was exceedingly hot when our team took the court with confidence at 5p. The other team fresh off their win looked over-heated and tired. Our team took advantage and scored immediately after the tip off. We scored 4 more baskets in the first 3 minutes of play to take a 10 - 0 lead. The head coach of the other team called timeout and berated his girls. It was embarrassing.
When the game resumed, one of the best players on the other team was assessed her 3rd foul and the hot headed coach stepped on to the court and yelled at the ref who made the call. The coach was assessed a technical for walking on the court. Our point guard buried the 2 technical foul shots and our team took a commanding 12-0 lead. The neutered coach retreated to the sidelines and contained his emotions for the rest of the game.
The game played on and our team continued to dominate possession. Our team was passing and cutting and beating the other team's man to man defense with ease, but layups and short jumpers were not falling. Still it was very obvious that our team was in control.
At the half way point of the first half, the other team called time. We were still winning 12-0, but should have been winning 24-0. After the time out, our opponent emerged and started employing a tightly packed zone. Our team kept trying to pass and cut in the narrow lanes, but met lots of resistance and tough physical play. The refs, however, were not making any calls. After several obvious fouls were ignored, our coach called timeout and talked to the ref. The ref told our coach to relax because we were obviously going to win the game.
Well, our team kept missing shots and got frustrated. Our frustration lead to fouls and the other team buried foul shot after foul shot. Our team was still dominating each possession, but soon it was a 1 point game.
With 2 minutes left in the game, our team went into a slow down mode. We passed the ball back and forth. Every now and then the other team would foul us trying to make a steal. We were not even close to the bonus, so after each foul we had to throw the ball in.
Sure enough while we were trying to runout the clock, one of the passes my daughter made was intercepted and lead to the winning basket with 16 seconds left on the clock. My little girl was devastated.
The Main Point
In principle, I do not have a problem refs controlling the speed and score of lopsided games, but not in a championship game between two obviously strong teams. We lost the game because our team went completely cold. The other team won the game because they never gave up. Unfortunately, the refs played a major role in the outcome and that is just not right.