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Whistles galore turn hoops into snoozefests

By contracostatimesprepsportsstaff
Monday, January 22nd, 2007 at 12:11 pm in Basketball.

High school basketball games, considering they have quarters just eight minutes long, should finish in a breeze. Well, at least one would think so. Often, just the opposite seems to happen. Numerous whistles — even for what appears the slightest player contact – - bog the game down with stoppages upon stoppages. For those in the stands hoping to witness action-packed, exciting basketball, a game instead becomes an ordeal.

What gives? I’m not sure any scientific study has been made, but empirical evidence holds that high school basketball games have more foul calls than those at other levels of the sport. Some possible theories to contemplate: First, are high school basketball players, by virtue of their youth, yet-to-be-fully-developed skills and relative inexperience, more prone to committing fouls? Or does the problem lie with officials who err on the side of caution and call anything and everything to keep tempers from escalating and avoid problems (such as fights, injuries and even potential lawsuits)? Or is it a combination of both? Whatever the cause, the constant whistles get to be a drag in the most literal sense as a game coughs and sputters en route to the merciful sound of the final buzzer.

High school basketball can be a great game. It was the theme of the movie, “Hoosiers,” and serves as a backdrop in the popular Disney kids’ fare, “High School Musical.” In real-life experience, basketball arguably is California’s No. 1 high school sport, having had state title games for both boys and girls well before football renewed its act. But a game has to jell. And for high school basketball to thrive and grow, it must flow. But whistle after whistle after whistle for even the most inane “violations” leads to some stagnant basketball.

If you’ll excuse me now, the officials have just called the 43rd foul of this game, and now I’ve got to get back to . . . Zzzzzzzzzz…….

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  • William

    What drives the fans crazy is the overuse of traveling calls. This most often comes when a player catches a pass with both feet on the ground, then does a nearly imperceptible shuffle of the feet before taking off with the dribble. The refs appear to take pride in being able to catch this infraction, which really does not give the player any significant advantage. If the average person cannot even see it, don’t call it!