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"T" - Frustration Throw-down


Michael Leavitt Blog BLOW YOUR WHISTLE!

The key to stopping issues on the basketball court is to blow your whistle. Last night we experienced just such a play. The game was a Sophomore rivalry between the Lone Peak High School and Pleasant Grove High School girls. These players possess good skills and show that these two programs have at least a couple of good years to look forward to as these players migrate through JV and Varsity teams.

It is amazing at how much action takes place among the ten players on the court. As the Lead on this play I can see that my head turns as I follow the deflected ball and secondary shot. At the very same time, a rebounding foul happens and immediately becomes a frustration throw-down. The video shows the full play, slowed down, and then blown-up and slowed down. Watch it and formulate your own opinion.  What would you have ruled? What could have been done better on our parts?...

LP Throwdown YT


I watched this play and wondered what could myself and my partner have done better. The action happened on the Trail side of the key. I can see my eyes follow the deflected/passed ball that came across to my side of the key. What I missed was the hard rebounding tactics by the blue player from behind. Had either or our whistles gone off when the rebound happened, then there never would have been a technical foul for the throw-down.  When it happened, my Trail partner was ten feet up the court beyond the top of the key. Was his view blocked? The rebounding action was his to view from behind. It sure would have been great to have a third official's angle as this took place.

I can clearly see my head turn with the ball to the next shot as I pick up the throw-down out of the corner of my eye and blow my whistle. I was proud that I had the common sense to close down while giving an immediate technical foul signal. There was no more heated action and the blue player walked towards her bench and took herself out of the game.  It was interesting to watch. Her demeanor was that of total frustration.

After the play I questioned over and over again what I must have missed.  For there to be that violent of a take down, I figured it must have been retaliatory in nature. So what did I miss? Even debriefing with my partner after the game, he said he saw nothing to cause the retaliation.  I was so thankful that my lovely wife Shelly was in the stands manning the video camera. I could hardly wait to get home and watch what actually happened. Would it confirm what I had recorded in my own mind? I have watched this play a couple of dozen times and I still do not understand where the anger derived. The taller girl in blue should have been called for the foul when she collided with the white player also attempting to rebound. The blue girl was completely in the wrong... But why did I not pick up on this? I was in good position, yet not in a good enough position to catch the collision from behind. The Trail may have had a better chance had they been 15 to 20 feet further down the court. Making a call from that far out is a difficult sell, at best. I was impressed with how quickly my partner came in with a fist in the air.

RESULT - We assessed a personal foul on 13 followed by the technical foul on the same player. This gave us a 1 and 1 followed by a technical foul. Yes, that is 4 shots and possession at the division line.

QUESTIONS - Would it have been better to just come in with an intentional foul and combine all of this together into one infraction? Or was it better to immediately signal the technical foul after the first foul?... I will mull that one over for a few days and let the right answer distill from the heavens into my soul.

OPTIONS - I signaled a "T" and my partner had his fist raised high. I never gave any thought to signaling an intentional foul because it looked retaliatory in nature. We could have sent everybody to their benches and then gotten together to discuss in detail what happened and delay the game further. In this case, we spoke in passing, quickly, and assessed the two penalties. The only two players involved were already separated and we were able to quickly get it reported and then hustled to the other end of the court to shoot what turned out to be four free throws before bringing the ball into play and getting the game going again. We had several options, but this seemed like the most appropriate and quickest way to get the game moving again. There was no dispute from either coach or bench. The coaches, players, and crowd seemed to appreciate the quickness of the ruling and implementation of the penalty. I think we made the best choice.

IN SUMMARY - I wish that myself and my partner had seen and blown our whistle on the first portion of the rough rebounding action. My tendency has always been to let players play through some of the action, but I need to be alert to what is really taking place.  This may have been trouble brewing from the last few times up and down the court. I can't imagine that it was from just that one single event. But most of all, I have got to always put air to my whistle to get that action stopped quickly.

Make it a great game! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah


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