It may sound weird or a little condescending to say, but I’m proud of Marquette coach Donovan Garletts.
After all, I am like 15 years older than him.
Having that ‘Professor’ tag in front of his name now must have helped with his maturity as a coach because the Donovan I’ve known over the last few years usually would let out his frustration after a game like Saturday’s 77-75 overtime loss to Frankton in the Class 2A Lafayette Semistate.
I know I would’ve had some frustration to let out. Heck, I was close to that point myself on Saturday and I’m just the local newspaper hack who isn’t supposed to have a rooting interest.
(We’re required to be objective in this job … Marquette not advancing to the state finals saves me from a long drive to Indianapolis on Saturday, but I also love covering a state finals in any sport.)
What most fans will focus on from Saturday’s game is the final shot attempt from Colin Kenney — a 3-pointer from about 28 feet that rimmed off and prevented a dramatic finish. It looked like he was undercut, which would have been a foul and three free throws. In fact, the video Garletts and his assistant coaches were looking at 10 minutes after the game confirmed that sentiment.
Garletts went against his previous mantra of being open with his complaints after a game.
“I’m not going to say anything to get in trouble,” he said when asked about missed calls.
That supposed missed foul call, though, wasn’t what angered me as a neutral observer while shooting photos from the front row of the stands on the baseline of Marquette’s basket in the second half.
The end of regulation literally made me angry.
The Blazers rallied to tie the game with about 11 seconds left on a layup by Kenney. Frankton’s layup attempt with around 3.5 seconds missed and Marquette’s Max Willoughby grabbed one of his team-high nine rebounds. As he was in the process of notching the board, I looked to my left at Garletts on the sidelines, and there he was yelling, “Timeout! Timeout!” repeatedly at a referee mere feet away from him.
I know it was loud in the Lafayette Jefferson gymnasium, but it’s one of the official’s jobs to pay attention to a coach in the final minute of a game in case he wants a timeout.
And Garletts was caught between a rock and a hard place. If he jumps onto the court trying to get the ref’s attention, he could get a technical — like Northwestern’s Chris Collins did in Saturday NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga when he was absolutely right in pointing out a missed goaltending, but the official called a technical because he was on the court during play.
Sure, it would have been only 2.5 seconds or so, but I’ve seen game-winning shots happen in that amount of time. Instead, Marquette wasn’t even given a shot because a referee was negligent.
Fouls like the one that happened on Kenney’s shot at the buzzer are missed a lot. After all, these are just high school officials who are underpaid for the grief they receive.
But I’m also a firm believer that right is right in life, not just sports. Don’t tell me you don’t like my angry tone or attitude. If I’m right, who cares about tone … but then again, I’ve been told I’m a bad person, so don’t listen to me.
Marquette had another really good season, reaching its third semistate in four years. And a bit of good news is that the Blazers should be going back to Class A after being 2A for two years due to the IHSAA Success Factor. If they would have won on Saturday — earning a fourth trophy in two years after winning sectional last year — they would have stayed in 2A for two more years.
Instead, Marquette should move back to its original class with a substantial amount of its core players returning, though it will be in a sectional where two-time regional champ Gary 21st Century will be returning most of its core.
But that missed timeout at the end of regulation is going to stick in my head for a while. The IHSAA needs to add something to the rules so referees don’t screw coaches by missing their timeout calls at crucial times.
Reach sports editor Steve T. Gorches at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 214-4206. Follow him on Twitter @SteveTGorches.