Sunday, June 1, 2008

Broadcast wrap-up: Battle of the Hardwood AAU tournament

Next time I do one of these, I'm ditching my sport coat and going with a polo. I understand my co-worker's reasoning to continue looking professional, but with an 80* high today (not bad for outdoor weather), it was close to a sauna in the Woodbury gym. My body matters too, lol.

Tracy Buford clicked very well. She's a quick learner in the art of broadcasting, although a little surprised when I got very excited at the end of the 17U championship. We got into some bar talk, but mixed it throughout the commentary. I know the players like to win AAU tournaments and improve for next high school season (or college for the older teams), but they also looked like they were having a little fun out there. I wanted to reflect that.

Regarding the games, North Tartan used a big run early in the 1st half against the Lady Suns to get up front and stay there, winning their game soundly 71-59. North Tartan's Sari Noga of Parkers Prairie had complete control over the defense of the Suns, lighting up from behind the arc and scoring some inside buckets too. She could make a name for herself before her high school career is over.

Paul Hill's NC Heat won a thriller over the Metro Stars 19U team 51-49. The Metro Stars used a man-to-man and forced a lot of missed shots in the 1st half, appeared to have control of NC Heat's zone defense, but buckled when the Heat switched to a half-court press late in the 2nd half. Having Tayler Hill and Megan Nipe as teammates doesn't help matters for opponents; Nipe did well in the 1st half while her good friend Hill did the same in the 2nd. NC Heat was down by 8 with 1:47 to go. Hill responded with 6 points on two three-point plays in 29 seconds to make it a one-possession game. She added a three-pointer and two more free throws in the final seconds while Courtney Boylan of the Metro Stars missed a critical free throw. With the game tied at 49 with 26 seconds to go, Hill held the ball and held back pressure for the final shot, where Katy Leick scored the winning basket at the buzzer. The Metro Stars may have been a little too relaxed and may not have anticipated NC Heat staying in there despite trailing by three possessions late, but it was a great primer for both teams for the summer and their return to school.

One surprise was the lack of time between games. Warm-ups are only five minutes, but I didn't expect halftime to be three minutes. I don't make the rules, but that puts a lot of pressure on a broadcast crew to make changes quickly and get back in there. The players are probably accustomed to it, but it's amazing how quickly the games go. I may try to attend some pool play games next time or obtain rosters of perennial contenders for better preparation and coordinate a better area for the broadcasters. Where we were was out of the spectators' way, but it was a little tiring to be standing for two games to clear the guardrail. However, I figured there would be some obstacles as this is a much different process than a high school game. I could also use a statistician for these as there isn't enough time to get scores and other stats. I'm better at picking up scoring runs now, but that would help dissect the game even further. I have much to learn about AAU.

On the positive side, I think this was the first time I completely winged an open and got through it without any mistakes in the middle, a sign that I'm maturing and developing as an announcer/reporter. Granted, this wasn't my first basketball game, but having general practice does help. As my co-worker Heinz says, you can't do this once and expect to be perfect.

Time to make my sign for ESPN's broadcast of the Twins-Yankees game tomorrow; it falls on my birthday. Even with all my work, I'm psyched about this. I rarely get to have this much fun on my birthdays, but that's another story.

A vs. AAAA All-Star game to be broadcast this week, I'm shooting to have AA vs. AAA done by the end of this week.

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