by Whit Anderson, Staff Writer
Basketball season is in full swing not only for the Manhattan Jaspers’ male and female teams, but for the student population as well. Starting on February 3rd, intramural basketball began for hundreds of Jasper ballers ready to battle it out on the court.
Registration for intramurals opened back in January. In order to sign up, students had to either join a team by invite, or become the captain of their own team and recruit their friends and acquaintances to fill a roster. With such a short registration time, it was fair to figure that only a certain amount of captains could sign up their teams in time. However, registration ended up being extremely high this year as 25 men’s teams are participating, and 13 co-ed teams as well.
There are too many teams to all be going against each other, so the leagues are each separated into two divisions with each division broken down even further. For example, part of the division one men’s league plays every Monday and Wednesday while the other half gets the courts every Sunday and Tuesday. A similar format is taking place in co-ed also.
In terms of the difference in divisions, the consensus is that division one consists mostly of players that were either on their high school teams or played some form of competitive basketball. Division two has more participants that are newer to the game. Both leagues are filled with talent, however.
All games take place on the two available courts in Draddy Gymnasium during the evenings. Being that it’s the same gym that our Division 1 basketball teams play in, the atmosphere and intensity for the games are enhanced.
The game rules are fairly straightforward. There are two 20 minute halves where the clock never stops other than during timeouts, halftime, and when the ball goes out of bounds. Each player is allowed five fouls before having to exit the game, but teams have to be cognizant of not committing too many fouls or else they’ll put their opponent in the bonus. Every foul committed after the bonus gives the other team free throws.
To make sure these rules are being enforced, the Manhattan Recreation Department hired qualified student officials to officiate the games. One of these refs is sophomore Matt Cahill. When asked about the prior training required to be a ref, he noted that “Usually, they have a full training course, but this year it was more on the fly because of scheduling problems.” Similar to the players, the referees are learning and improving as the season goes on.
But of course, there are always those controversial calls that affect every level of basketball. Cahill, however, says the intramural officiating crew is prepared for this. “If there’s a game-altering call that they(the refs) disagree on, they’ll discuss it. If they still don’t agree, then they’ll go to the supervisor.”
From the student perspective, intramurals are for the most part living up to the hype. Sophomores Isaiah Kepnes and Alex Messina are teammates on a division two men’s team and gave their thoughts on the season so far.
“Less games than I thought there would be,” Kepnes said. “It’s been pretty competitive though.”
“We want to win,” Messina said succinctly.
The season will end on February 27th, followed by a one or two week playoff period that should bring out the best in every player as the stakes will be raised.