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Wondering why scores vary

I have a tendency to look at the scores of games that were played the day before and try to imagine what made the game unique.

Was a close game close from start to finish, or just in the last few minutes or the last quarter?

For instance, last Saturday, the Lind-Ritzville/Sprague Broncos defeated the Okanogan Bulldogs, 50-48. In the first half, the Broncos had trouble finding their shooting range and only scored 15 points, which is not a lot for them.

The Bulldogs scored 26 and led by 11 at the half. Defensively, the Broncows were doing a great job; they just couldn’t take advantage of their possessions when they got stops.

In the second half, the Bulldogs scored 22 points, which means that the Bronco defense was still solid. But the Broncos started hitting some 3s. They found their way to the free throw line and would tie the game after three quarters and would tally 35 points in the second half.

What was the difference in the second half?

Okanogan is a big, physical team. The Broncos were the much quicker, which led to some key steals. But why wouldn’t the ball go through the hoop consistently on one end of the court?

Good questions, huh?

It has been said that fouls that were called during the season may not be called during tournament games to make sure the next game isn’t held up for too long. To that, I would say that a lot depends on the referees.

At tournament time, referees are working with other officials from across the state and continuity can be a problem. If you have worked with another official, you can usually know what they are looking for and you can focus on other areas and a three man crew can cover the court pretty well.

But if all three guys have the same area of focus, they may have missed activity away from the main action. That’s usually about the time the fans or coaches start chirping their disdain for a foul that seemingly has been missed.

For their part, referees must look for obvious fouls. If a kid going for a lay-in was knocked off his feet by a defender or if the offensive player just landed wrong or was trying to get a chance for a free throw the official has to make a judgment call or no call. I think players often make the mistake of trying to draw a foul instead of pure focus on making the shot.

If a player gets knocked down, it’s one thing. But if they land wrong and stare at the ref, I’m sure the person in the black-and-white stripes is thinking, “I’m not going to call a foul when you just want to shoot free throws.”

I’m not sure where that part of a game is taught unless they learn it from TV.

Getting back to scoring discrepancies, I will go back to the Gonzaga-Pepperdine game Saturday. In the first half, Julian Strawther couldn’t miss and Drew Timme couldn’t seem to buy a basket. In the second, it was different story.

Strawther’s shot was clanging off the rim and Timme was scoring off of inside moves or rebound put backs. I’m glad one of them picked up the scoring when the other one had trouble. Those things happen to teams that struggle.

I think it would be interesting for a team to go back through their stats and see which end of the court that they have the most success. That would be through scoring totals per quarter and half, as well as shooting percentage. Did the team do better on one end or the other? One thing to take into consideration is if the team pressed right off the bat and got some easy baskets or if the press didn’t result in turnovers was the half-court offense working?

I’ve often heard teams are either first half or second half teams when it comes to their success. LRS has been a very good first half team, but on Saturday they finished as a very good second half team and the timing was perfect.

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. Email him at [email protected].


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