The TSSAA denied an Eagleville High School protest Monday morning involving alleged scoring errors during Saturday night’s loss at LEAD Academy in the Region 4-A quarterfinals.
Principal William Tollett sent video to and conferred with TSSAA assistant executive director Gene Menees, along with North Central Basketball Officials Association supervisor Ken Melton from Saturday’s game, in which the Eagles ultimately lost 87-80 in overtime.
The Eagles contend that two free throws made by Mari Stoudemire with 31 seconds left (that would have given Eagleville a 76-71 lead) were not counted and ultimately LEAD Academy tied the game in the closing seconds and sent it into overtime.
By both TSSAA and National Federation of High Schools bylaws, once a game ends and an official approves it being final, the result can’t be changed at a later time.
Menees said that, along with what occurred at the time of the scoring discrepancy, led to the TSSAA’s decision.
“The clock didn’t start (on a made LEAD basket following Stoudemire’s free throws), so the officials went to the table,” said Menees, who talked to both Eagleville and LEAD Academy representatives and had a report from the game’s lead official. He said he had not watched video.
“While they were there, it was pointed out that the (scoreboard) wasn’t right. Both books had the same score. When there’s a discrepancy, you go by the home book, by rule. In this case both books had exactly the same score. The official asked again, and both said they have the same score.”
“When both books have exactly the same score, then there’s not much else the referee can do.”
According to national federation rules, the only instance when video can be used to change the scoring in a game is during a state championship, and that is in the case of ruling on a 2-point or 3-point shot.
The TSSAA did not adopt that policy. Menees said the reason for that was the association’s hesitation to place more importance in that one game over a state quarterfinal or semifinal, or even an elimination region contest such as Eagleville played Saturday.
What TSSAA will do, however, is use video in order to determine rulings on situations such as a fight during a game.
“We don’t use it in determining the outcome of a game,” Menees said. “We’ll use it if a fight between (Team A or Team B) or there’s a question about someone coming off a bench. etc.. It’s board policy. We’re not looking to change the outcome of a game (but to) enforce TSSAA bylaws.”
He said, similarly, that video wouldn’t be used to correct bad calls or similar situations either.
“We don’t eject people after a game,” Menees said. “if they’re not ejected the night of, we don’t the next day. We look at fans coming off the floor, kids off bench.”
The Eagles’ book shows Stoudemire with five free throw attempts in the quarter, but only a first attempt last attempt have the circles filled in as made free throws. Reed said after reviewing film himself that Stoudemire made 3-of-5 free throws during the quarter.
“There were numerous clock issues during the game. It was a distraction to the bookkeepers,” Eagleville coach Joseph Reed said.
Eagleville players, administration and fans were busy on Twitter Sunday, exclaiming what they felt was an injustice in the elimination game.
Stoudemire was fouled again after the officials’ meeting at the scorers’ table and hit one free throw and the scoreboard read 75-73.
LEAD Academy, which is ranked third in the Associated Press’ Class A statewide poll, ultimately tied the game and sent it into overtime.
“They just didn’t put the points up,” Reed said.
Ironically it is Eagleville which will host the semifinal and final rounds of the region tournament, including Tuesday’s boys semifinals.
“There were lots of wrongs made by a lot of adults that affected these kids,” Reed said. “I just hope I can teach them something out of all of this.”