Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dunce Cap Award: New York Section 2 Basketball Committee

I don't know about high school basketball tournaments in other parts of the country, but New York's Section 2 needs to get a clue or three, and quickly.

Take for example the Class A boys basketball tournament quarterfinals, held today at Hudson Valley Community College. The 1st game on a 4 game card went double overtime before Amsterdam defeated Queensbury. Section 2 had figured on each game going 90 minutes from start to finish, with no time in between for fans to empty the bleachers and the next crowd to refill.

Big mistake.

College tournaments allow for a 20-30 minute window for intermission between games played at the same venue. A good example of this is the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), which will hold their annual tournament later this week at Albany's Times Union Center, where Siena is the host team. Such sensible thinking is lost on the suits in charge of Section 2, and probably their counterparts across the state, as well. With 8 minutes per quarter in regulation (overtime is 1/2 as long), they think that should be enough to finish the game on time. Uh, haven't they watched enough college or NBA games to know better? College games are usually plugged into a 2 hour TV window in the regular season, regardless of network (CBS, Fox, ESPN), but because coaches save time outs for the end of the game, and teams that are trailing in the last 2-5 minutes begin fouling like crazy in an absurd attempt to try to create an avenue of escape, if you will, games usually swell past 2 hours, especially if it goes to overtime. Rare is the time when a game is finished in less than 2 hours.

Digression over. I went to HVCC, bent on seeing my alma mater, Troy High, play Mohonasen. The game was scheduled for a 4:30 tip, but didn't start until almost 5:15 due to the 1st game going double-OT, and the 2nd one also going to overtime. By my figures, the nightcap, set for 6, would tip at 7.

This wouldn't happen if tournament suits planned things a wee bit differently.

Yesterday, in addition to 4 Class AA quarterfinals, HVCC hosted two games in lower classes, with the first game tipping off at 11 am. Six games in all, and they all ended in regulation, but, due to the traditional late game strategies of saving time outs and wasting fouls, there were the minor delays. The bigger problem is crowd congestion. Organizers need time to get fans who aren't staying for the next game to leave the gym in an orderly fashion, though this was probably not a problem with the last two Class AA games yesterday, or today's Troy-Mohon game (Troy routed Mohonasen by 39), as fans likely headed for the exits early anyway, with their teams comfortably in front. I know I did.

Paraphrasing a line from The Band's "The Weight", the Section 2 Basketball Committee might be collectively feeling about half past dumb, because they've got some Dunce Caps headed their way. They've got a whole year to figure out a solution to an age old problem, otherwise we may have this discussion again.

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