Sleepy Hollow Girls Win Hastings Hoop Tournament

Captains Grace Carr and Jess Tucci with the awards
Captains Grace Carr and Jess Tucci with the awards
The Sleepy Hollow girls varsity basketball team beat Yorktown 59-49 to win the Hastings holiday basketball tournament for the second straight year to move to 8-2 on the season.

Playing their third straight game in three days, the team overcame a bit of fatigue, some novel officiating and a dogged, well-coached Yorktown team. Every time Yorktown tried to start a run or Sleepy made some mental errors, the team re-focused, maintaining their composure and the lead.  

Junior guard Alex Davis-Sumter was clutch at the foul line, hitting free throw after free throw down the stretch to keep the team ahead.  Alex had 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Senior captain/point guard Jess Tucci had 10 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, and was named All Tournament Team, adding to her trophy from Thursday's County Center challenge game.  Senior captain/forward Grace Carr was named MVP, scoring 47 points over the 2 game tournament.

The team is off until Monday January 6th, when they travel to Mamaroneck for 4th of 8 straight road games.
Having reached a mid-season break, a personal observation on officiating from someone trapped watching a hundred plus live games a year for the past 6 years or so.  This season, players, coaches and fans have been forced to adjust to a new, very strict interpretation of foul calling, adding to the perennial consternation over what constitutes a foul.  

Hand-checks and other contact that were previously considered incidental now more frequently than not results in a whistle.  To avoid fouling out, players are often forced to play very passive defense, especially in the lane.  
Despite efforts to avoid contact, fouls are often still called in the paint even when there is clearly no contact but the shooter, e.g, slips or takes an off-balance shot.  It can be a bit comical.  In some games, this has encouraged the sort of flopping which the NBA has been fining in recent seasons.
Saturday's game against Yorktown saw some 40 or so fouls from two teams which both played a pretty clean style.  One Yorktown player fouled out, and other players from both teams played with 4 fouls.

Parents and fans naturally tend to be a bit partisan as to whether any given act was a foul or not.  The fact is, refs rarely decide a game by themselves - check your team's stats for turnovers, missed free throws, missed layups - but refs can really affect the style and quality of a game.  In the end bad foul calling hurts everyone.  

Refs have a very hard job tracking 10 fast-moving players, and 90 percent of the time should get the benefit of the doubt even for wrong calls.  That said, two improvements by the Section might help if strict calls are going to be the order of the day.  

One, the refs need to consult with each other more, rather than defer.  In one game this week, a defensive pushing foul was called when a defender was knocked backwards to the floor by a screen set at the top of the lane while the ball handler drove unimpeded to the hoop.  A really good screen will do just that (as will a moving pick, something that could be called more at every level of the game).  The call was made by the baseline ref looking through about 6 players; the other ref with a view from the top was not consulted.  Consulting with one's peer does not undermine the ref's authority, and good refs don't hesitate to do so.

I'm no expert on refs, who I know get certified periodically, but I don't think they're required to watch film of their game calling.  This could be done at least periodically over the season, with the Section collecting film from the teams.   Most every sport is always looking for ways to improve the reffing, and these or similar suggestions might help.  

My 2 cents.  Have a happy new year!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Clarice December 30, 2013 at 12:10 AM
CONFRATULATIONS to the SHHS Girls Basketball Team for the second year in a row winning the Hastings Hoop Tournament and especially to Jessica Tucci for being named All Tournament Team!


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