‘15 kids got screwed’: Winning basket waved off in N.J. state semifinal

‘15 kids got screwed’: Winning basket waved off in N.J. state semifinal

Tooba Shakir 54 years ago 0 0

The organizing body for New Jersey’s high school basketball tournaments apologized for an officiating “error” that cost a boys’ team a last-second win in the state semifinals. That team is now trying to overturn a result that New Jersey’s governor described as “crushing.”

Controversy erupted Tuesday in Bayville, N.J., after Manasquan appeared to score on a putback to pull ahead of Camden by one with no time left on the clock. As Manasquan’s players and fans rushed around in jubilant celebration of what they believed was an upset win, officials conferred at midcourt and eventually decided the basket did not count.

Suddenly Camden was the team coming away with a dramatic, one-point victory and a berth in the state final. With video of the sequence appearing to show the ball left the Manasquan shooter’s hand before the clock ran out, his coach was left to fume that “15 kids got screwed.”

“Print that. Print it five times. Those three guys huddled up,” Manasquan Coach Andrew Bilodeau said (via of the officiating crew, “and they screwed these kids in front of 1,000 people, and that video will be on the internet for everyone to see.”

On Wednesday, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association issued a statement acknowledging that the final score was incorrectly determined but upholding the outcome.

“While the officiating crews’ reports indicate that a postgame review of footage of the play in question convinced them that the basket should have counted,” the NJSIAA said, “the results could not then and cannot now be changed.”

The state athletics body pointed to a bylaw prohibiting protests “based upon an official’s judgment or misinterpretation (misapplication) of the playing rules.” In addition the NJSIAA cited a regulation stating, “No video or audio recording may be used to review or challenge the decision of a sports official.”

“Unlike in college or the pros, there is no instant replay review in high school basketball in New Jersey,” the NJSIAA said. “These are the rules of the game that all schools agree to follow, and which have been upheld on appeal. We apologize to the Manasquan team for the error.”

Following that statement, the Manasquan School District issued its own, saying Wednesday it would “continue to pursue any available appeals we can to vindicate the values of fair play and integrity that should be the hallmarks of interscholastic athletics.”

“We appreciate the NJSIAA’s transparency in admitting the error in the calling of last night’s Group 2 Semifinal Boys Basketball game and appreciate their apology,” the school district’s statement said. “It is indeed ‘frustrating,’ however, that the NJSIAA refuses to exercise its discretion to remedy the situation that was so obvious and well-documented.”

Camden High, whose 12 state titles are the most for any New Jersey public school (per the Cherry Hill Courier-Post), will try to add to its total Saturday against Newark’s Arts High — unless Manasquan succeeds in its pursuit of a different outcome.

On Thursday, a state superior court judge denied a petition from the Manasquan Board of Education to postpone the Group 2 final. That game is scheduled for Saturday, and Manasquan officials hope to create more time so the semifinal result can be reviewed further. The judge Thursday provided a glimmer of hope by not ruling outright against Manasquan but instead sending the case to the state’s commissioner of education (via

Newark’s public schools superintendent said Thursday he was open to delaying the state final if it would “allow time for the court to issue a correct, full and fair decision.”

“If the record shows that an incorrect call was made and an unfair outcome was therefore reached, the court should overturn that decision in the interest of justice and in the interest of teaching our students a valuable lesson,” Superintendent Roger León said. “We teach our students every day the importance of sportsmanship, and all of the teams this season have given their all. This includes the incredible young men of Arts, Camden, and Manasquan. All of the teams who competed this season deserve to know that adults who make mistakes can have them corrected.”

The outcry over the officials’ error has made national headlines, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) expressed sympathy for Manasquan on Thursday but indicated he would not intervene.

“I feel very badly, particularly for the players and coaches and their families that had one snatched from them,” Murphy said Thursday (via while attending an unrelated event in Asbury Park. “But apparently NJSIAA is not going to review it, and the result is the result.”

“It’s a crushing way to lose the game,” Murphy added.

A spokesperson for the Camden City School District said Thursday, “While we understand the frustration and disappointment surrounding this incident, it’s important to clarify that Camden City School District had no influence or say in the outcome of the game or the decision made by the NJSIAA officials.”

“We look forward to supporting our Panthers basketball team at Saturday’s championship game,” spokesperson Sheena M. Yera added in a statement to The Washington Post.

“We won. We’re not going to play on Saturday,” Manasquan Schools Superintendent Frank Kasyan said (via CBS New York). “Well, we might play on Saturday, according to what their determinations are. However, the board of education will celebrate this team with that victory they had last night.”

“My heart hurts for our kids, but it also hurts for Camden — I hate to see their win be tarnished with any controversy,” Bilodeau said Wednesday (via Jersey Sports Zone). “No kids deserve that.”

Source link

– Advertisement –
Written By

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

– Advertisement –