Mergin Sina said he could not believe his eyes when he walked into Rahway High School’s gym for Monday’s Non-Public B South semifinal against the Patrick School.
“The three guys at the game were all Union County refs,” Sina said. “The NJSIAA says they make every attempt to make the game neutral, so there shouldn’t be three Union County refs in that game.”
The Knights ended up losing 70-59. Star point guard Jaren Sina was whistled for three first-quarter fouls and Patrick School attempted 39 free throws to eight for Gill.
Sina said two of the officials had worked the Union County Tournament semifinal between Patrick School and Elizabeth the week prior.
NJSIAA Tournament director Larry White said there are several considerations regional assigners make when booking officials.
“Whenever possible and practicable, a neutral crew should be put on the game, but it’s not a rule that they have to abide by,” White said. “We have other parameters, such as schools with a do-not-want list. That might preclude people being put on a game who would be considered a neutral assignment. We also don’t want people traveling all over the state for these sectional games.”
However, White said Sina’s complaint is justified. “Am I happy that now it’s brought to my attention that the guys were guys who did the Union County Tournament the week before? No. When the dust settles I will be meeting with all my regional assigners and we will review everything. I’ve got to find out what made this slip through the cracks.”
Sina said he’s speaking out in the hope that stricter assigning protocols are put in place for the future.
“If Pat’s came to our gym and we had three Somerset County refs at our game, think about what that looks like,” Sina said. “It just left a bad taste in our mouth. I don’t get it. When you get to a semifinal game, there shouldn’t be Union County refs there. I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”