Rock Bridge coach displeased with officiating following another loss to Hickman

Saturday, March 2, 2013 | 11:04 p.m. CST
Rock Bridge head coach Jim Scanlon watches as his boys basketball team plays defense against Hickman High School during the first quarter of the Class 5 District 9 Boys Basketball Championships on Saturday. The Bruins ended the first quarter down 14-13 to the Kewpies and were unable to come back in the subsequent three quarters, losing the game 66-62.

COLUMBIA — Thirty minutes after their season-ending 66-62 defeat Saturday night to Hickman, teary-eyed, dejected Rock Bridge players began to file out of their locker room down the hall from Hickman’s gymnasium.

Following the team’s third loss in as many tries this season against the rival Kewpies, the Bruins’ frustration with both the outcome and the officiating was evident.


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“Everything goes against us, that’s kind of the way it’s gone this year,” Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon said. “Give them credit, I thought it was a hell of a game, both teams played their butts off, it just seems like we can’t grab a break.

“Every call goes against us, it’s amazing.”

With Rock Bridge trailing 61-59 with 40 seconds remaining, sophomore Ryan Kreklow missed the third of three free throws. On Hickman’s ensuing possession, the Bruins failed to box out on the second of two free throws, granting the Kewpies a mulligan.

Hickman capitalized, making both free throws after another Bruin foul, taking a five-point lead and cementing the victory.

“There were a lot of times I thought we had them,” junior guard Jackson Dubinsky said. “Even when we were down I felt like we were right there but we made a couple of bonehead plays, we missed some easy block outs on free throws and there were a couple questionable calls. But no excuses. We played hard, they played hard and props to them for getting the win.”

Scanlon wouldn’t identify any specific problems with officiating Saturday night, but said he would watch film of the game afterwards to assess it. The veteran coach added that he also felt slighted by the officiating following his team’s triple-overtime loss to Hickman in their last meeting.

Playing without star guard Nick Norton, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament last week, the Bruins were shorthanded against one of the state’s highest ranked teams.

But led by Dubinsky, who took it upon himself to assume Norton’s leadership role with the team and led all scorers with 25 points, the game was tied 29-29 at halftime, and Rock Bridge was within two points in the final minutes.

“It’s tough to lose that game but it’s even more tough to lose to your crosstown rival, especially three times,” Dubinsky said. “I just feel like we’re not supposed to lose to them.”

Gripes with officiating aside, the Bruins walked off Hickman’s court proud of their effort.  

“You go with what you got,” Scanlon said. “We could’ve won the game. We were fine with who we had, we just didn’t make the plays (down the stretch) and we don’t get any breaks.    

“The last game’s killer. We’ll get over it later on, but your season’s over. You’ve spent four or five months with these guys, you feel bad for them.” 

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Michael Williams March 3, 2013 | 10:42 a.m.

I'm a bit confused.

First, “Everything goes against us", and "that’s kind of the way it’s gone this year” and "it just seems like we can’t grab a break" and "Every call goes against us.”

Yet, your team missed free throws, failed to box out, the other team DID make their free throws and did take advantage of their opportunities.

So which of the team errors was the fault of the officials?

Did Rock Bridge lose this game because of the officials, or did your team lose this game because they had opportunities upon which they failed to spite of any official call you didn't like? How many times did your team take the ball up the court and come away with no points because of an errant shot? How many time did your team turn the ball over? How many free throws did your team miss? In all, was it enough times to change the final outcome of the game?

I'm hoping the reporter for this story simply over-emphasized the coach's frustration at a call(s) he didn't like and under-emphasized the squandered opportunities. If not, I think the coach did his team and school a disservice by failing to accept responsibility for team performance, preferring instead to place blame on officials. Officials do indeed make mistakes, but in the course of losing to the same team 3 times in one season, I'm doubting those losses had as much to do with the officiating than did a team unable to make its own breaks. A whole year of "we can't catch a break" is not a good long-term psychological plan for ANY team.

(Report Comment)
larry bird March 3, 2013 | 4:27 p.m.

As a impartial fan, I couldn't disagree more with the RockBridge coaches stance on the officiating! It was a hard fought game by both teams and to take away from the accomplishment of the Hickman squad is a disgrace to the RockBridge school itself.....Great job both teams on a exciting game and I would hope for better post game sportsmanship in the future.

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