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Three Women Referees Make History

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Three Women Referees Make History

The following is an excerpt from an article by Mike Mathews entitled, “Historic night came as easy as 1-2-3," and which appeared in the February 19, 2018 edition of the Cumberland Times-News. It tells the story of the first three-woman crew to referee a local high school basketball game, this being on February 15, 2018:

“It was a pretty impressive sight, Thursday evening at Bishop Walsh. And that was before Kyara Bible scored her 1,000th career point.

Karen Detrick, Brenda Zembower and Emily Bauer made a bit of history, becoming the first three-woman crew to officiate a local basketball game. And they may just be the most accomplished trio of former players to work together, too, as tooting the whistles for the Bishop Walsh-Paw Paw game that evening were two Hall of Famers, a national champion, an Academic All-American and two local players who are among the top all-time scorers at their respective schools.

• Karen (Iames) Detrick, a 2005 graduate of Bishop Walsh, was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame this year. An All-Area and All-City first teamer in 2005, she scored 1,021 career points. BW, coached by Bob Boyle, was 23-4 and No. 2 in the area that season.

• Brenda (Niswonger) Zembower was inducted this year into the Hall of Fame at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, where she was a guard on the 1986 team that won the National Christian College Athletic Association national championship. She was also an Academic All-American.

• Emily (Friend) Bauer, a 1996 graduate of Southern Garrett, is sixth on the school’s career scoring list with 1,168 points, and still holds the school record for points in a game, with 44 against BW in 1994. The Rams, coached by Don Stemple, were 21-4 and area co-champions her senior year. Southern doesn’t have a hall of fame, but her jersey hangs on the Wall of Fame with the school’s other all-time greats.

So, if you want to challenge an officiating trio to a pickup game, it’d be wise to pass on this threesome. All three played more than just basketball, too. They were three-sport athletes. Now their high school and college playing days are over, but they’re still on the same stage they enjoyed as players, working five, six, sometimes even seven games a week for the local Potomac Valley Board. All three have worked girls and boys junior varsity and varsity games.

Each was aware of their assignment Thursday night but downplayed it.

"It’s about the players, and the sport. It’s not about the refs," Detrick said prior to the game. "But I know this is something that will be a first, and I’m very proud to be with Brenda and Emily. I enjoy working with them."

Detrick is in her seventh year as an official. So is Zembower, who graduated from Liberty Baptist High in San Jose, California. "I’ve always loved the game of basketball. I’ve played, and then coached some middle school, and it seemed like a natural progression for me," she said of becoming an official. "I’ve really enjoyed it."

"I was really excited about being a part of (the three-woman crew)," said Zembower, who also has softball umpiring experience. "I love working with these ladies. Hopefully, it will inspire girls and women to give all aspects of sports a look, and try it all."

Friend, who received a basketball scholarship and played four years at Shepherd University after her days at Southern, is in her third year as an official. Her 323 points is fifth best for a freshman in school history.

"I have a love for the game. My kids are still pretty little so I’m not really at the point where I want to coach," she said. "To be able to be involved in the game, get some exercise, stay involved, and give back to the community a little bit are some of the reasons I decided to become an official."

The Potomac Valley Board has 47 active officials this year, according to Jack Nelson, board secretary. Only four are female: Zembower, Friend, Detrick and Detrick’s mother, Karen Iames, who works several middle school games several nights a week.

"I view myself like any other referee. I try not to focus on me being female," said Detrick, who played a year at Allegany College. "I don’t feel like I was treated any differently when I first began, and I know the Potomac Valley board has always been welcoming and encouraging. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve always been welcomed and respected."

"It can be nerve-racking. You are on stage in front of a lot of people. You’re human. You’re going to make mistakes. Being a referee gives me an opportunity to stay active in a sport I love."


Cumberland Times News


Collection Location:
Allegany County

Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.

Allegany County, (Md.)

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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