It was supposed to be an early season faceoff of undefeated teams, two schools with perfect girls and boys basketball teams. It never happened, though not for trying. Instead, this time it was the referee’s fault. Literally.
As reported by the Des Moines Register, the ballyhooed boys and girls basketball doubleheader between Lawton-Bronson (Iowa) High and IKM-Manning (Iowa) High was postponed until Jan. 10 because the referees who were scheduled to work both games simply failed to show up. The result was a very long day for the Lawton-Bronson squads, which traveled 100 miles to get to Manning only to climb back onto a bus and drive 100 miles back within an hour of showing up on campus.
“The (IKM) athletic director had a signed contract and he did his job, but the issue was that no one showed up,” Lawton-Bronson athletic director and boys’ basketball coach Vince Johnson told the Register. “This is my nightmare as an A.D. You have signed contracts and you confirm it, but it doesn’t come together.”
While the teams attempted to lasso any local referees into working the game, there were none available. The teams waited 45 minutes in front of a packed gymnasium full of hoops-mad Iowa high school fans but eventually gave up the ghost.
According to IKM-Manning boys basketball coach and athletic director Keith Wagner, the gym was nearly entirely full for the combined boys and girls ticket. All those attendees will get free entrance to the re-scheduled game, but that did little to keep optimism alive on Tuesday, particularly the athletes themselves, who faced a second 100-mile trip in the bus heading back home.
“I kind of have a routine where I wait for the national anthem of the girls’ game to get done before getting the guys ready, and I kept waiting and waiting and waiting,” Wagner told the Register. “It’s definitely disappointing.”