It’s fairly common to see three-person officiating crews at high school games these days. Now several years into the practice, it no longer qualifies as an experiment and most fans and coaches agree that three is better than two.

So why not three for every game? The cost of an extra official — $35.50 per game — is a factor, but not as much as the availability of officials.

“We can handle five or six games (of three-person crews) on a busy Tuesday or Friday,” said Mike Delois, who is the assigner for the Central Maine board. “If it gets super busy, we might have two or three.”

Some schools schedule three officials for games at the beginning of the season. Hall-Dale and Winthrop, for instance, have three-person crews for every game. Others ask during the season.

Not every board in the state requires officials to go through three-person training, but the Central Maine board does. They offer training and often volunteer their services free of charge, usually during preseason or holiday tournaments or as they recently did at a junior varsity round robin.

Delois said there are 48 officials qualified to work three-person crews on the Central Maine board. It was once thought three officials called more fouls than two, but that isn’t the case. Delois cited two studies, including one in Minnesota, where results for consecutive years between the two options were compared.

“Overall (the three-person) crew called 1 1/2 fouls less per game,” he said.

Delois believes there are two reasons for this. First, players behave better when they know they’re being watched. Second, officials working two-person crews sometimes have to take educated guesses on calling action, particularly fouls.

“In a two-person crew the officials doesn’t always have the best look that he needs,” Delois said.

Delois added there is always a need for new blood.

“We can never have enough good officials,” he said.


• • •

Gardiner passed its midseason test against Leavitt, Camden Hills and Nokomis with a straight A. The Tigers won all three games, including one without center Aaron Toman, against teams that all were bigger.

The Tigers (12-2) beat a big Nokomis team Friday in Newport after falling behind by four points at the half.

“They’re big and were sandwiching Toman and taking him out of the game,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said. “In the second half we did a much better job of moving the ball around.”

The Tigers outscored the Warriors 23-6 in the third quarter to take control of the game. Senior Jake Palmer scored nine of his 24 points in the quarter while Alonzo Connor also found the basket. Connor’s role is usually to rebound and play defense, but Cassidy said he has a nice elbow jump shot.

“He actually has one of the best jump shots on the team,” he said. Connor finished with a career-high 17 points to go with seven rounds as Gardiner won 68-50. Matt Hall, who plays a role similar to Connor’s, chipped in with 11 points. The Tigers are also developing more depth as senior guard Travis Kelley is getting more playing time.

“He’s a defensive stopper when he first comes in,” Cassidy said. “And we want him to distribute the basketball.”

The Tigers get a rematch on the last day of the regular season at Leavitt. The team has come together well this season.

“Everybody’s got the same goal right now,” Cassidy said. “It has made a difference for us.

“These guys have been playing together for a long time and they really care about each other. It’s going to be one of these groups that they’ll be friends 20 years from now.”

• • •

Maranacook posted a key win Tuesday at Morse despite the absence of senior point guard Seth Miller, who was sick.

The Black Bears were clinging to the 12th and final playoff berth in Western Maine Class B before beating Gardiner on Thursday night.

“I think we need to win three of our last five at a minimum to the secure the 12 spot,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said.

The Black Bears got a nice lift Tuesday from sophomore Taylor Wilbur, who scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers.

“He shot the ball real well,” Schmidt said. “He’s still streaky at time bit he and Caleb Jackson are our two most consistent shooters.”

Jackson finished with three 3-pointers, while junior center Kyle Boucher scored 16 points. The 6-foot-7 Boucher averages 6.5 blocked shots per game and has managed to do it and still avoid fouls.

“It’s the biggest improvement he’s made this year,” Schmidt said. “It happened after we played MCI and he got two fouls in the first three minutes. I sat him for the first half and he didn’t like that. He blamed himself.”

Maranacook finishes the season with road games against Leavitt, Waterville and Oak Hill and a home contest with Belfast.

• • •

Richmond picked up a big win against Valley last week but the Bobcats may still need a win tonight at Rangeley or on Feb. 7 at Buckfield.

After dominating Western Maine Class D for several seasons, the Bobcats (4-9) are in danger of missing the tournament.

“We’ve got to play more defense and take care of the basketball better,” Richmond coach Phil Houdlette said.

Richmond has little experience this season. Houdlette pointed out senior Tyler Harrington is playing basketball for the first time and Kade Strout, another senior, has a half year of junior varsity experience.

“The kids we’re playing against, that’s their big sport,” he said.

The Bobcats beat Rangeley in Richmond, but Houdlette pointed out “playing up there is a totally different ball game.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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