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Something is foul, about all the fouls

I’d rather try to nail jelly to a tree than to ever try to be a referee in basketball.
On top of being overworked and underpaid, the amount of abuse an official receives from players, coaches and fans on any given night would deserve a citation from law enforcement if directed towards the average citizen.
Refs are human, and do make mistakes. In an overwhelming majority of cases, however, calls that are made are correct.
That all being said, I’d love to know what I’ve done to draw the ire of basketball officials at the previous five boys games I’ve covered.
It seems as though whistles are being blown before the first batch of popcorn is sold, and with as much frequency as the squeak of gym shoes.
In past seasons, field goals were the en vogue choice for scoring by our area teams, with free throws being sprinkled in to supplement point totals.
This year, the opposite seems to be true.
Local score books look like they’ve been blasted by bird shot, with all of the circles ‘ some filled in, most not ‘ on the pages.
Simply put, free throw totals in the past five games have climbed to obscene levels.
In order, combined charity tosses reached 77, 69, 38 (close to the average in most years), 68 and a whopping 82 on Saturday night in Ramsey.
The clubs involved sank 220 of 334 tries (65 percent), with an average per game of 44 makes in 66.8 tries.
Break that down, and it’s a free throw every 7.1 seconds.
It’s almost as if the referees are on a rampage and are punishing the crowd for the years of jokes about their weight, being blind, shiny shoes, funny hair and wearing a Foot Locker uniform.
I can come up with only one solution.
Say it with me, ‘Refs are our friends.’
— My alma mater’s rival, Providence, has finally climbed to No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 2A boys basketball poll.
In case you are behind on the times, the Pioneers were undefeated at 13-0 going into last night’s game against Silver Creek.
But Providence is banned from competing in this year’s state tournament due to a violation of rules pertaining to recruiting and a loss of administrative control.
The infractions came under the watch of veteran Hall of Fame coach and Harrison County resident Joe Hinton.
Under the guidance of first-year coach Lou LeFevre, Providence’s defense has been downright miserly this season, allowing only 41.6 points a game. Hinton’s clubs could only manage a defensive average of 54.7.
In their opening contest this year, the Pioneers blasted Lanesville, 52-27, and haven’t looked back since.
Only one of Providence’s seven remaining opponents ‘ which includes a home date against South Central on Feb. 10 and at North Harrison on Feb. 18 ‘ sports a winning record.
It’s entirely possible that the Pioneers could be the first team in the history of the state to finish the season with a perfect 20-0 record, ranked as the No. 1 team in their class and have nary a sectional game under their belts.
Some fans believe Providence’s athletes are getting a raw deal by not being eligible due to the actions of adults, but if the Indiana High School Athletic Association had looked the other way or delivered a only small fine, those same fans would likely bemoan the ‘no-call’ as another instance of parochial schools getting by with whatever they want.
So, hats off to the Pioneers for turning lemons into lemonade.