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Alyssa Ward, a senior at Beddingfield High, is not only an accomplished student but has distinguished herself as one of the most competent high school basketball scorekeepers among schools in The Wilson Times readership area.
She understands the importance of the task — especially in the role of the scorer responsible for the official book — and the absolute need for accuracy.
Unfortunately, her endeavors in last Friday night’s game between the host Beddingfield and Hunt varsity girls teams resulted primarily in frustration.
The Beddingfield and Hunt girls teams had already played one another twice this season and, also, Ward knew some of the Hunt players.
She soon recognized discrepancies in the Hunt roster that appeared in the official (her) book. Ward attempted to alert the officials of the situation but the response was that they were concerned with numbers and not names. The teams played on until halftime.
When the officials returned to the court to begin the second half, Ward again explained her dilemma. During intermission, she had spoken to school officials, who also became involved. This time, the officials were more willing to listen and one admitted: “We’ve got a mess.”
The beginning of circumstances that delayed the start of the second half some 25-30 minutes, occurred when, before the game, the Hunt lineup was incorrectly posted in the Hunt scorebook. The jersey numbers Lady Warriors players were wearing did not correspond to the numbers listed beside their name in the scorebook.
The roster went unchecked and was transferred as was into the Beddingfield or official scorebook.
In the meantime, Ward dealt with traffic problems and did not arrive until moments before the game’s start. Play had begun when she realized names and numbers did not match.
Within the Hunt roster, only the names of four players correctly corresponded with the jersey numbers they were wearing.
Furthermore, Ward soon realized a Hunt player whose name and jersey number had been omitted, had entered the game. By the time the officials were informed, the player was back on the bench.
An official intended to assess Hunt with an administrative technical foul — but was overruled by a fellow official — with a stipulation. The stipulation was that the technical would be administered once the player returned to the court.
In their customary pregame routine, the officials counted the number of Hunt players on the floor and found the total to correspond with the total players listed in the scorebook. Ditto for Beddingfield.
The situation addresses the officials’ repeated statement that numbers — not names — are the concern. Certainly, the officials are not expected to know the names of players they seldom see.
But numbers and names counted when Ward explained that Hunt’s No. 11 on the court, who had committed three fouls, was not the same No. 11 listed in the scorebook, etc.
Finally, the group arrived at the simple solution that should have been solved in a matter of five-or-so minutes. The numbers were corrected. With the aid of statisticians from both teams, field goals, free throws and, most important, fouls were correctly assigned.
No administrative technical was assessed against Hunt, which emerged victorious.
Taylor August, in a telephone interview, graciously explained the pregame routine his officials are instructed to follow. August is the regional supervisor/booking agent for the Northeastern Officials Association.
“They give the official book a cursory glance,” August reported. “They don’t check every number. Before the game, they watch the players, count them and just make sure the number is the same that appears for each team in the book.
“At the 10-minute mark, they check to see whether the teams have a designated captain and if the starting lineups are available.”
August noted the North Carolina High School Athletic Association basketball handbook recommends that rosters be listed in numerical order — but is not required. He emphasized it’s the coaches’ responsibility to verify the accuracy of lineups in the official scorebook.
August did add he was disappointed his officiating crew didn’t react more quickly and indicated the second half should have begun with Hunt being charged with an administrative technical, then a Beddingfield player shooting two free throws and the basketball being awarded out-of-bounds to the Lady Bruins. From there, play ball!
From this viewpoint, blame is not the issue. As Beddingfield head coach Debra Pegram suggested, both teams were at fault.
But as Pegram also pointed out, the information within that official scorebook is “sacred.”
Spectators might, at the end of the game, glance at the scoreboard to see the final score. And that score is correct in most instances.
Still, the final score that matters is the one in the official scorebook. On occasion, a close check reveals the score on the scoreboard and the one in the scorebook are not the same.
The message is to high school basketball scorekeepers and the aforementioned is an example of what can go wrong.
Every point and every foul counts and should be duly recorded. The impact of a single point or a single foul can never be taken for granted.
Whether the visiting or official scorer, each should be alert and focused. The scorers should work together and, even though one book is designated as official, the data recorded in each book should be identical. Start with the fundamentals and be certain the players names and numbers are alike in both books. Thus, when an official visits the scorers’ table at halftime and at the end of the game and asks if the books are together, the scorers should not have to cast an uncertain glance at one another.
The task is anything but simple, but the officials’ duties do not include governing the work at the scorers’ table. And they don’t want to intervene.