BY RAY FLORIANI
Jersey City, NJ - Last Tuesday, it was off to Snyder High School in Jersey City. Girls' JV, Lincoln and Snyder. I got there midway through the fourth quarter of the varsity game, watching a few minutes as a strong Lincoln group has the contest in hand. After meeting a few minutes with my partner, the varsity officials come in from their game. One recognized yours truly, saying, “you mentioned me in an article about the Linden Team Camp.” That camp, assigned by friend and respected Division I official Dennis Allocco, was always a favorite to work and chronicle.
Getting to the floor, Lincoln varsity coach Tommy Best says hello. I told my partner my writing days have spanned a few decades, and I covered a few of Best’s games during his Saint Peter’s playing days.
From the first few minutes, we see this will be a oneasided affair. Lincoln comes out pressuring. After building a fast double-digit lead, the Lincoln coach calls off the full court pressure. Lincoln scores the first 12 points of the game before Snyder gets on the board with a three-pointer. Suffice to say it was not one the coach planned by design. It was near NBA-range and banked in. At the half, it is 23-3 Lincoln. At the break, my partner and I discuss ‘game management.’ As we have been doing, if the call is close, give it to the weaker (Snyder) team.
The second half is more of the same. Snyder struggles to even run a set against half court defense. In addition, the body language hints the girls of Snyder have given up, and are just as glad the time keeper is running the clock.
Snyder's final points come off an inbound. Lincoln ball. I tell the girl, ‘hold your spot on the inbound.’ She does, and passes to a wing who takes off for the wrong basket and scores. At that point, Snyder varsity coach Tom Ferreira is walking by. I whisper, “welcome to JV ball.” A great basketball friend who I often run into at Fordham games, Tom just shakes his head.
The 41-5 final score could have been worse had the time keeper not run the clock the second half. Snyder was severely overmatched. In these situations, a team will try to improve, maybe even ‘win’ a quarter. Not tonight. As noted, Snyder could not wait for the ordeal to end. The fact they treated the game as such and did not enjoy any part of playing hurt more than the score.