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Judging quality of playoff officiating is a tough call


Today's smorgasbrowse of Q's without A's are questions overheard in the locker rooms and in the bleachers during the playoffs this week.

Remember, if you have an answer or comment, just give me a buzz on my 24-Hour Sportsline, (410) 647-2499.

* Has the officiating been up to playoff caliber?

Feelings are mixed on that.

What about this remark from North County three-sport assistant Al Pindell, who used to be an assistant to Gerald Moore at Arundel, after Moore's Wildcats dropped a 64-61 decision Monday to Broadneck in the 4A Region IV boys basketball quarterfinals?

"Gerald's not there yet with Kaz [Broadneck coach Ken Kazmarek] and [Annapolis coach John] Brady, and until then, he won't get the calls," said Pindell.

Pindell was referring to a couple calls that could have gone either way in the final moments of the Broadneck game, but went against Arundel.

In basketball circles, it seems that if you are a perennial contender or champion, you get the crucial calls on reputation. ,, That may or may not be true, but I don't think it had anything to do with the Broadneck-Arundel result.

If you saw the game, do you agree with me that the officials seemed to anticipate calls rather than follow the play all the way through before blowing the whistle?

Isn't anticipating one of the very worst faults an official in any sport can have and is usually an indicator of insecurity on the part of the ref?

Shouldn't those who might think that an intense coach such as Kazmarek gets the crucial calls have seen Broadneck's 66-62 loss at top-seed Meade on Wednesday night?

Kazmarek felt that his go-to guy, sophomore Jason Smith, was manhandled, and the fact that Smith had only four points in the first half could be an indicator that he was in the early going.

Do you think a lot of the problem can be compared to the varied strike zones of baseball umpires?

All sports have a rule book, but certain officials make their own rules. For instance in basketball, there are some referees who call touch fouls and others who don't, and the key is for your coach to know who does and who doesn't.

In baseball, many umpires have their own strike zones, often different from the official rules. Some call strikes at the ankles. Some don't call a strike above the belt.

So why have a rule book? How can you expect kids to learn the game when different officials have different rules?

* Wasn't it also rare to see officials call three technicals in a playoff game, including one T for dunking in warm-ups in the Old Mill-Annapolis 4A Region IV semifinal Wednesday?

"That was a handicap to keep the point spread in line," Brady said jokingly of the call against his Panthers.

Brady may not have been joking had his Panthers not won the game, 75-63. Old Mill hit just three of the six technicals and scored on only one of the three possessions after the free throws.

* While we have been critical here of the girls basketball officials echoing the opinions and concerns of many of the girls coaches, haven't the girls playoff games been well-officiated this week?

Haven't the girls games been well done because the local referee group had less of a workload and could put more quality officials out there in the playoffs giving credence to a suggestion made by Southern's Linda Kilpatrick?

Kilpatrick, the veteran Southern coach who was a charter member of the girls Golden Triangle group while in college, suggests, "The solution is to get help from other groups so we don't get the same faces all the time, and with more numbers, the quality would improve."

* Did you know that the Annapolis girls plan to attend a summer basketball camp with their outgoing coach, Teresa Ross, who is leaving for Kansas to get married.

"At first, it [news of Ross' departure] was devastating, but we've learned to cope with it and will going to camp with her this summer," said Annapolis junior Cristi Samaras.

* After hearing some great arguments this week for several coaches, and realizing that eight county coaches are legitimate candidates for boys Coach of the Year honors, I'm interested in your opinion. Who among the candidates should be Coach of the Year?

The candidates (alphabetical by school):

Brady, Annapolis -- Not one of his best teams; lost three in a row for only second time in his 16 years and was counted out early.

Moore, Arundel -- Led Wildcats to first winning season (15-8) since 1979.

Kazmarek, Broadneck -- Led team with little experience and sophomore sensation Jason Smith to 15-9 mark and region semis.

Terry Bogle, Glen Burnie -- Turned 12-11 team into 16-7 team, best since 1983.

Butch Young, Meade -- Little height, little experience, little depth but coached (19-4) into overachievers and Region IV finals.

Paul Bunting, Old Mill -- after an upset Region title last year, led Troy Green and a bunch of no-names to a 13-9 record (after 1-3 start) and region semis.

Jim Doyle, Severn -- Finest record in (25-2) in Admiral history and won first ever MSA B Division title.

Lee Dove, Spalding -- Pulled off major upset of Severn in turning a 9-13 team into 17-10 club, best since 1983-84 (16-8).

Tough call isn't it?

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