JERSEY CITY, NJ - Forget the rain and Nor’easter. After cancellations abound Monday, it was back in action on Tuesday. JV girls’ basketball between Lincoln and McNair, my fourth time this season working a Lincoln game.
My partner is good officiating friend Nick Gallo. A friend since boyhood of Brian O’Connell, Nick also coaches AAU girls at Hunterdon United. In a summer tournament a few years back, Nick faced Mike Rice’s seventh-grade team. Gallo’s Hunterdon team emerged victorious. Rice was a little vocal on officials and his team. Why am I not surprised?
I spoke for a few minutes with Amanda Rosado. She formerly coached JV at McNair, but is now the varsity assistant. I loved working her games when she coached JV. A St. John Vianney star who played at Monmouth, she always talks fondly of Seton Hall’s Tony Bozzella. “He recruited me for Southampton,” she said. “I love Tony, but back then, wanted to play Division I.”
McNair hung around early. In the end, they\ turnovers and transition of Lincoln took their toll. Lincoln emerged a 30-15 winner.
Halftime: 18-6 Lincoln
The first quarter saw the Lady Lions force turnovers, get out in transition, and miss. About a half-dozen missed layups made them fortunate to lead 3-2 at the end of the quarter. The second quarter, they settled down. McNair struggled to get an offense in gear. Lincoln had more transition opportunities, but converted a great deal better than at the start. Both teams are pushing the ball, but the fast pace is in Lincoln’s favor.
Final: 30-15 Lincoln
The second half saw more halfcourt tempo. Both teams zoned, contrary to past games. Lincoln is not subsisting on a diet of three-pointers. They are running a double-post zone offense, making a concerted effort to get the ball inside to their post players with a size advantage over McNair. The homestanding Cougars have four fouls to Lincoln’s one going into the fourth. Nick reminds me, though neither coach has mentioned this. I told Nick I am aware of the disparity, but we must make calls if warranted. McNair went full court press in the last quarter. Lincoln did not have trouble breaking it, and after doing so, went half court offense to use some clock. A few late baskets by the Cougars made the final a little more respectable.
Postgame, Lincoln’s varsity coach; who watched the game, joked I am becoming a regular on his team’s games. I joked with the Lincoln JV coach, saying “are you tired of seeing me?” “Never,” she said. Good to hear. Nick and I exit the gym. He is off to do two men’s games in Bayonne. This is the busy, and great, time of the year.