Hello all, and welcome again to the MML page. What I want to do is give a slight recap of the 2012 MML U17 spring season thus far. However, before doing that, I want to explain what happened to end that spring season last weekend at the Fathead Border Battle so that all of our parents/supporters and the like know the truth. Bear in mind that this is only one of the many examples of poor officiating on both sides at this tournament.
In our very tight and competitive final game on Saturday evening versus Parallel 45, there was some chippy play. Nothing that I saw as outlandish, although I did have a couple of parents later say there were some “dirty” things I did not see. We ended up pulling out a hard-fought win 62-60 and advancing to the semifinals of the gold bracket the next day. As it turns out, we lost that semifinal game and were thrust into a consolation (3rd place) bracket. The battle for 3rd place would be against the same Parallel 45 team. The first half was largely uneventful (outside of the poor officiating) and we went to the half down by 5 points. The second half began with us waking up and scoring about 12 straight points to take control of the game. After a P45 timeout, there were several instances of what I consider rough play from one guy in particular. I could see it begin to escalate and asked the officials to watch it. They didn’t seem to listen.
On the very next play, the same player pushed one of our own out of the air with a clear forearm as he attempted to block another player’s shot. As a result of the push, he crashed into another one of our guys, causing about an inch gash underneath his right eye. The kicker was that the official called a foul on us and counted the basket. The player pushed said, “Are you kidding me?” and was assessed a technical foul. Ok, no problem. Technically, the player should not have said anything to the official so he has the right to do that. However, he then assessed a second technical because he asked for the ball, but neglected to catch it. Now that was way too far.
The combination of the rough play not being officiated throughout, attitudes beginning to boil over, and officials now calling the game based on having a chip on his shoulder, made me know that I had seen enough. I had already called timeout, but decided that my players’ safety was paramount and the situation had not been controlled through the officiating so I would do what I could, that is, discontinue in the game. It is something I always said I would do for safety’s sake, but hoped I would never have to. Well, I had to that day.
After speaking with the tournament director, my parents, my kids, my coaches, and even one of the officials (who by the way agreed that the tech were unwarranted), I knew that the correct decision had been made. We were indeed winning the game, so a win was not a factor for me. I would like to believe that I would do the same even if we were in a title game. A trophy, a win, bragging rights, etc. are not worth the safety of my boys. That will always be the case. I just wanted you all to know the back story of a strange situation….
Anyway, the U17 team had a very successful spring (our best in the 6 years of existence). Our overall record in April and May is 27-7 (.794)! That does not include the game mentioned above. We won 1 championship (Up North Challenge), and despite losing our second best all around player to major injury (Achilles tendon tear) in the Storm Classic, we still had a 2nd place performance. Add in 3 additional final 4 (semifinal) appearances in the Warriors Jam Fest, Camp Darryl/Bankhoops.com Classic, and Fathead Border Battle, and one quarterfinal at the Moneyball Shootout, and you have a successful spring. We also know that it could have been even better and take that with us to work even harder as players and coaches. You know what? As our motto goes, we have and will continue to “run to win.”
Recap: 27-7 overall record, 1 championship, 1 2nd place, 3 final 4′s, and 1 final 8 in our 6 tournaments played!