Officials looking into Zama boys hoops forfeit at M.C. Perry
DODDS Pacific athletic officials are looking into Zama American’s boys basketball team’s forfeiture Dec. 5 at Matthew C. Perry and what, if any, action will be taken against the Trojans’ coaching staff.
Coach Parish Jones pulled his team off the court with 3:40 left in the third quarter of a 45-28 loss to the Samurai. Jones noted in the scorebook that he thought the referees were not implementing the rules used by DODDS Pacific, Jones, opposing coach DeWayne Piggé and the officiating crew said.
No decision was forthcoming by the end of the week and the start of Christmas break, DODDS Pacific athletics coordinator Don Hobbs said.
Jones does much of the coaching, while his wife, Veronica, a science teacher at Zama High, holds the DODDS extra-duty contract and is the team’s official sponsor.
The two said in an interview Thursday that the Trojans have faced similar problems in the 12 years they’ve taken teams to play Perry, and the Dec. 5 incident was the tipping point.
Parish and Veronica Jones insisted that the Iwakuni Officials Association referees were calling international rules, which permit more contact, hand-checking and allow players to take an extra step before shooting or dribbling.
Piggé, Hobbs and IOA president Tony Stone said National Federation of State High School Association rules, which each DODDS Pacific school requires, were used.
“Each time we go to (Marine Corps Air Station) Iwakuni, the referees let the Perry players run amok,” Veronica Jones said. “They play a different game there and want (us) to ‘coach up (our) players’ mid-game to match their inconsistency? This has been going on for 12 years, and no one has done anything about it.”
Veronica Jones noted one incident in a game last season when one of Zama’s players was “thrown against a wall,” and the team was not permitted to get the player medical treatment.
“There wasn’t even a foul called,” she said. “What would you have to do if you had to start thinking about the safety of the players instead of the game? How am I supposed to protect my players when their players are allowed an extra step to push opponents? What would you have done?”
In a letter to Stars and Stripes, Stone said Parish and Veronica Jones each watched the girls game prior to theirs and never spoke with the game officials about incorrect calls or NFHS rules interpretations during the girls game.
“If (they) felt the officials were not making correct calls before his game, then those concerns should have been brought to the attention of the officials for proper clarification.”
Stone also went on to say that Jones’ only complaints were about “judgment calls.”
Every time a Perry player scored a three-point basket, Zama’s coaches would “rather complain to the officials about a judgment call (or a) no-call than properly coach his team on how to defend the perimeter.” And Jones would use timeouts and spend the entire time talking to the referees instead of “helping the team improve on their deficiencies,” Stone said in his letter.
Zama returned Dec. 6 to play the finale of the two-game weekend series, losing 59-54 to Perry under circumstances that Piggé described as “a lot more calm” than those of Dec. 5. “It’s a new day. It’s a new game,” Parish Jones said just after Friday’s forfeit.
A survey of coaches at Yokota, Nile C. Kinnick, Robert D. Edgren and E.J. King, whose teams also visit M.C. Perry from time to time, said they’d never experienced similar problems with the officiating there.
Asked whether Zama’s program or its coaches would face any sanction by DODDS Pacific, Hobbs said, “Presently, the situation is being addressed.” He did not elaborate nor offer specifics.
The discussion of sanctions calls to mind a situation in October 2013, when coach Brian Hill of Patch’s football team in Germany was suspended for one game after pulling his team off the field after three players suffered concussions.
During the 2014 Pacific football season, a game pitting Seoul American at Kadena was halted with 69 seconds left in the third quarter when the visiting Falcons ended up with too many injured players. Hobbs, who was present, halted the game. Falcons coach Jimmy Davis wasn’t suspended.
On Oct. 3, a DODDS Korea game pitting Daegu High at Humphreys High ended at halftime with the Warriors leading 32-0. Blackhawks coach Aaron Mundy said the team didn’t have enough players to continue the game safely. Mundy was not sanctioned.
Neither DODDS’ Pacific Area Interscholastic Athletic Program manual nor its equivalent in Europe specifically address incidents such as the Zama-Perry game or the Patch-Hohenfels game, Hobbs said.