By Rich Winter
Wanted to give a Wednesday morning shout-out to all of the South Dakota High School Basketball officials. The snow, weather and roads this winter have been dicey for South Dakotans. We’ve had a lot of our officials on the roads, in the cold, but also into our gyms and into our communities.
Couple situations caught my attention at the Class A state tournament:
Pine Ridge vs. Tea Area:
What an absolute BEAST of a game. Have never seen two teams play so hard against one another. Things got pretty chippy in that ball-game, and there were several ‘encounters’ on the floor. While confrontations aren’t good to see, it was refreshing to see a trio of officials come in, break things up and handle the situation. No one got a technical foul, no one was ejected and the officials let the game play out.
Tea Area vs. Sioux Falls Christian:
Right out of the gate of the Class A State Championship game between Tea Area and Sioux Falls Christian, things got interesting early.
On one end of the floor, A SFC guy hit a three, the ref signaled three (I think) but the score-keeper put it in the book as two. Moments later, Noah Friedal’s bucket should have counted as it was goal-tended.
The game stopped for neither play…But, on the first stoppage of play, the refs huddled up, talked about all of the previous plays, that occurred, in a matter of seconds.
They got it right!
Midway through the Todd County vs. Aberdeen Roncalli game on Friday, feeling the refs were not giving my Lady Falcons a fair shot I reached over to Jerry Matthews and said, “Just once I’d like to look up and see the other team have more fouls that Todd County.”
Jerry tapped me on the shoulder Saturday morning and said, “St. Thomas More has ten fouls, Todd County has 8.”
I think it is so easy to get wrapped up in cheering for a team that it becomes very hard to be objective…Often, what seems egregious in the moment isn’t always the way it really happened.
At any rate just wanted to thank the basketball officials in South Dakota for a great season. Thanks for all the travel and hard work you all do, and thank you for giving your best to continue to keep this great game moving forward.