It was the final regular season basketball game for Delaware Valley, and it was Senior Night also. After that night, Thursday, Feb. 17, all games are state play-off games.
The way it works is, if you win, you survive to play another game. If you lose, your season is over.
Junior Varsity plays first, and their opponent was Lakeland.
This year the JVs have had some really exciting games, and this one was no exception. It may have been the most exciting one yet.
Here is the period-by-period breakdown:
● In the first period, DV was up, 11-10.
● By the end of the half, Lakeland had stormed in front, 27-19.
● In the third period, DV fought back and closed the gap to 29-32.
● The final period was nip and tuck, back and forth, with the game up for grabs.
DV tied it up with 1:09 to play and then even went ahead by two when, on an impossible shot while being fouled, Lakeland tied it up at 40 but missed the foul shot, so the game went into overtime.
The overtime period belonged to DV scoring 9 points to Lakeland’s 4.
This is because DV owned the offensive boards rebounding, giving them several shots to score instead of only one shot. I have talked about the need for this all year, and tonight they proved the value of offensive rebounds. It gave them a victory of 49-44.
I am going to add that there are some very good ball players on the JV team and several tall ones. If they continue to grow, they will prove to be nice additions to the Varsity team next year.
Now for the Varsity. I am going to start right out by saying that DV lost in a heart-stopping, heart-breaking game by a score of 59-58.
Here’s why they lost.
Number one, they shot themselves in the foot in several ways. Four times they took down defensive rebounds and had a player streak down court all alone for what should be an easy basket — but they threw the ball away. I mean totally threw it over his head or out of bounds. Eight easy points, just thrown away.
Two, they blew several really easy shots that, with a split second more to aim, could have scored. Another easy 8 to 10 points squandered.
Finally, their foul shooting, which is usually good, was only sub par.
I am going to step out of character now to make a point I’ve only hinted at once in the past. The officiating was terrible. It was so bad, people in the stands finally were yelling at the officials. I will give four examples:
● One time, a DV player was fouled. I mean clearly fouled. He was expecting to go to the line for 2 foul shots and instead was called for the foul. He was chagrined and disbelieving.
● Instead of politely handing the ball over, or placing it on the floor, he threw it down — not violently, but just in disbelief. He was now called for a technical foul by both officials.
● Instead of the DV player getting the 2 foul shots, the Lakeland player got 4 shots — a 6-point flip as the Lakeland player made all 4 shots. And to add insult, DV was thrown out if the game.
● Another time, there was a loose ball on the floor. Players from both teams went for it. The DV player was called for a foul.
I have never seen a foul called for a loose ball struggle, ever. Not pro college, high school, or any other type of game. There would have been punches thrown for that (fortunately, in this case, no punches were thrown).
● Yet another time, a DV player on defense with his feet planted was bowled over by a Lakeland player going for a score he actually made. Everyone expected that the shot would be called off because of a charge, but instead DV was called for a foul, and Lakeland got the basket and a free shot, which they made. There, three more undeserved points.
● Finally, in the final seconds, with DV up by 2 points, Lakeland scored and tied it up — but another mystery foul was called. With .06 seconds on the clock Lakeland scores the foul shot and wins by a single point.
With each of these fouls, the stands erupted in anger.
One adult observer who said that he had family in both schools said it seemed like the officials hated DV.
I have seen bad calls before, but never so many, and never deciding a game. I wonder if the coaches have a mechanism to issue official complaints.
This all being said, it was a very exciting game, and both schools played their hearts out and never quit.
Lakeland had a kid whose last name was Hazleton who was a real good ball player. Lakeland played hard and played well.
So did DV. If DV hadn’t played as well as it did, aside from several errors, this would have been a Lakeland runaway. But it was as tight as it was because of the fine play by both DV and Lakeland.
Honorable mention here: On the DV side, the standout player was Jake Brower. He played like a man possessed, rebounding, blocking shots, stealing balls, and scoring. He is an underclassmen and should be fun to watch next year.
Let’s see how the playoffs go.