Rowdy Rooters got a little bit rowdy at Tuesday night’s game
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On Tuesday night, the Hawks’ women’s basketball team fell to the undefeated Arlington Eagles 53-31, picking up their first defeat of the season and falling to 4-1.
To read the recap of the Hawks’ first defeat of the season, click here.
This isn’t about the game so much as the fans.
The game was entertaining. The Hawks played hard, and despite a few shortcomings, still competed with a team that outmatched them in size and experience of playing at a high level (Arlington finished second in the state last year).
But what about the appropriately named Rowdy Rooters?
After recently being called out to support both the men’s and women’s teams with greater numbers, several more fans were present at Tuesday’s game.
For most of the game, the Rowdy Rooters held to their normal, “rowdy” cheering, attempting to distract players while shooting free throws or when they had the misfortune of having to inbound the ball in front of the student section.
At one point, a referee temporarily witheld the ball from an Arlington player who was about to inbound the ball in front of the student section for no apparent reason other than the fans were yelling. No personal insults were heard and no student was anywhere close to touching the player other than the distance from the sideline to the bleachers, therefore no rule had been broken.
Regardless, the referee glared at the fans until they quieted down before she proceeded with the game.
The officiating was far from the best the league will see this year. Easy calls were missed (one time, for example, the ball bounced on the top of the backboard and over which is technically out of bounds call, but the refs allowed play to continue) and several times calls were made (against both teams) which shouldn’t have been. That is to say, the game was, for the second time this year for the Hawks, out of hand in terms of officiating.
All things considered, it wasn’t the worst officiating the team will likely see this year either. Both early and late in the game, officials called a much better, tighter game.
Though sometimes the right call should have been made the first time, meetings were held and calls were reversed to what was clearly correct according to the rules.
With just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter the officials blew a blatantly obvious no foul call, instead charging Terrace star Samantha Romanowski with an intentional foul, her fifth personal, thus fouling her out of the game. The call was a clean and clear steal, and if not a steal then at least a jump ball. Romanowski made extremely limited contact with the Arlington player and only swatted the ball away.
The call, which was followed with a technical foul against Coach Zach Wilde, was met with loud booing from the Terrace crowd.
Late in the game however, the Rowdy Rooters had seen enough. With their team down by 23 late in the game, they began to pick on one official in particular whom they had noticed had blown some pretty blatant calls along with fouls she had called which should have been another official’s decision.
They began to complain, loudly, one might add, about her poor officiating. Eventually, one student who had clearly had enough, began pacing the sideline in front of the student bleachers, pretending to coach the Terrace team.
He did not enter the court, never interfered with the game, and never said anything negative towards the Terrace team, the officials, or the Arlington team while doing so.
The ref who had been heckled a little bit by the fans (and had called the technical and Coach Wilde earlier in the game) proceeded to approach him and demand he retake his seat. He proceeded to follow her instructions and began looking for a seat.
When he did not immediately push his way into the small crowd of students she became even more irritated and began speaking in an unprofessional manner to the student.
He found a place to momentarily enter the stands before deciding to take a quick group photo of all the fans who had come out to support the team. She immediately ejected him from the game and then awarded the Hawks with a technical foul.
This all occurred with under a minute to play in the game.
Upon being ejected, the crowd reigned down with a loud chorus of “boo’s” directed towards the referee. The fans, as well as students family stood up and left the game.
To clarify, this was not in protest to either team or to anyone but the officials. The Rowdy Rooters have long supported their teams and it can be expected that they will continue to do so.
Their support for the women’s basketball team is new, but the fans that have showed up are dedicated and passionate about their team.
There are good refs and there are bad refs. Tonight, both teams got an unlucky draw and were officiated by what appeared to be at least one emotionally driven official who, unfortunately, had a lapse in professionalism and also a lapse in control of the game.
Basketball, as is with any sport, is far more fun when played by the rules and rules are enforced properly. That didn’t happen tonight and the consequences were rather dramatic for all parties involved.