For the first time in 38 years, a girls basketball game has ended with only a single basket scored, and you probably won’t believe when it went in the hoop.
As reported by the Tuscaloosa News, the varsity boys basketball team at Bibb County knocked off Brookwood by a final score of 2-0 on Jan. 31 in Brookwood. The only basket of the game was scored on the contest’s very first possession, by Brandon Rutledge, within 15 seconds of the opening tap.
The rest of the game was a massive exercise in intentional futility that is as baffling as it is unique.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association believes the Bibb County win is the lowest scoring game in state history, excluding forfeits, which are given a 1-0 final scoreline. It is the first 2-0 game anywhere in America since 1977, when Durham Hillside knocked off North Carolina rival Roxboro Pearson by a 2-0 score.
There’s almost no accounting for such a futile offensive display, and the coaches for both schools appeared to recognize that. The two teams had already met earlier in the 2014-15 season, with Brookwood knocking off Bibb County, 40-36, in November. That’s 74 more points than were scored in Saturday’s matchup. Both teams are also in the midst of strong competitive seasons, with Bibb County sporting a 22-9 record while Brookwood is 19-9. Both teams will play in the area playoffs this week.
The impetus for the low scoring came from Brookwood, which attempted to buy time after a long week of action — Saturday’s game was the fourth in seven days for both teams — by stalling for the remainder of the first quarter. That’s precisely what the Panthers did when they got the ball following Rutledge’s basket, holding all the way until the final shot. Brookwood started the second quarter with the ball, which was another chance to run down the clock in a stall. Another missed shot during the closing seconds of the stanza sent the teams to halftime with the scoreboard at 2-0.
That’s when Bibb County took a page from Brookwood’s book, and decided to stall itself. The idea was simple: If they didn’t stall, they could face giving Brookwood a final shot in both the third and fourth quarter. Holding the ball while maintaining a slim lead ensured that Bibb County would, at worst, have a 2-0 lead going into the final period.
Unfortunately for the Choctaws, that’s precisely what they had after missing another buzzer beating shot. That gave Brookwood the opportunity to stall for a final shot, right up until the Panthers turned the ball over in the game’s final 15 seconds.
“The last 30 seconds were the most dramatic,” Brookwood coach Thad Fitzpatrick told the News. “We were going to take the first good shot we could get, but we turned it over with about 14, 15 seconds to go.”
That turnover led to a series of frantic Brookwood fouls, but Bibb County was never sent to the free throw line because Brookwood hadn’t fouled all game. Finally Rutledge took one more shot in an attempt to kill off the game, but he missed, which landed Brookwood a chance for a buzzer-beating three which, quite fittingly, fell short.
The teams combined for a total of seven shots in the Bibb County victory, a stunning mark. Due to Rutledge’s make, Bibb County finished shooting 25 percent from the field, while Brookwood had a cool shooting percentage of 0. Yup, zero.
Neither school seemed to be proud about the result, but Bibb County coach Russ Wallace provided a bit of insight about his own confusion with Brookwood’s tactics after the game.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen stall ball being behind,” Wallace said.