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Pfeifer continues climb up college basketball's officiating ladder

Kelly Pfeifer reached another goal of his this season--he officiated a game in the NCAA national tournament. The former Dakota Wesleyan University basketball player and Mitchell resident recently completed his fifth season as a Division I men's b...

Official Kelly Pfeifer, center back, presides over a dead ball situation during a First Four game between Michigan and Tulsa at the NCAA tournament in Dayton, Ohio on March 16. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
Official Kelly Pfeifer, center back, presides over a dead ball situation during a First Four game between Michigan and Tulsa at the NCAA tournament in Dayton, Ohio on March 16. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

Kelly Pfeifer reached another goal of his this season-he officiated a game in the NCAA national tournament.

The former Dakota Wesleyan University basketball player and Mitchell resident recently completed his fifth season as a Division I men's basketball referee and reached his goal of reffing in the NCAA tournament. He officiated a First Four game between Michigan and Tulsa on March 16.

"It was a great experience," Pfeifer said. "It was a lot of fun and that's what we work for every year."

Just days before officiating the First Four game, Pfeifer worked the Summit League tournament championship game between South Dakota State and North Dakota State in Sioux Falls.

"I was prepared for it," Pfeifer said about officiating in the First Four. "I've worked on some pretty big stages. It was a fun atmosphere, I learned a lot and it will help me grow as an official."

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The Philip native, who got his start as a referee in 2004, was the guest speaker at the Mitchell Quarterback Club meeting on Wednesday at The Depot. Pfeifer shared his experiences on the road, as he officiated more than 80 games in leagues like the Big 10 and Pac 12.

"It was great. I worked a lot of games and things went well," Pfeifer said. "I work for some great leagues."

The NCAA implemented more than 20 rule changes for the 2015-16 season, most notably, going to a 30-second shot clock and moving the arc underneath the basket from 3 feet to 4 feet, in hopes of reducing the number of collisions.

"The players have to learn, the coaches have to learn and so do the referees," Pfeifer said about the new rules implemented. "I think we all learned together well and it made our game better."

Pfeifer, 35, spent some time as an NBA D-League ref in 2014 said he plans to stay focused on officiating D-I basketball.

"We want to get the call right," Pfeifer said. "The goal is to keep growing as an official, keep seeing how far I can go and keep getting better."

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