Just like the high school basketball players heading to the state tournament, the officials are feeling a combination of nerves and excitement.
“I remember when I was a kid practicing in my driveway, you always practiced for the championship,” Kevin Wicks said. “I don’t want to be the official that crushes a dream because of a bad call.”
Wicks will officiate the Class 4A tournaments next weekend at Forest Grove High School and Pacific University.
Travis Fuller is heading to Marshfield and North Bend High School this weekend to referee in the Class 3A tournaments.
"I do have some jitters, but I think once the ball goes up they'll go away," Fuller said. "I like doing games where the crowd is into it, it's a loud gym, the kids are playing well and the energy is up in the building."
Fuller has been donning the striped shirt for eight years. He started officiating junior high basketball games when he was still in high school and when he started attending Umpqua Community College after high school decided officiating high school contests would be a nice way to earn a little extra income.
Douglas County officials Ron Miller and Rob Cross are at the Class 2A tournaments in Pendleton this weekend.
Wicks and Fuller are officiating their first state tournaments and were honored to be selected by their association.
“It’s the state’s best teams in the 4A and to have the opportunity to be a part of something these kids are going to remember for the rest of their lives is something I don’t want to pass up,” Wicks said. “It’s also an opportunity to work with and learn from officials from around the state of Oregon as well as the best players who have made it to the tournament.”
Wicks became an official five years ago after talking to official Mark McLaughlin, a Roseburg High teacher.
“Officiating allows me to have the best seat in the gym when the game is being played and also allows me to interact with the players,” Wicks said. “I have a lot of fun talking with the players and getting to know them throughout the season.
“The only thing I wish is that I would have started officiating earlier.”