Behold! One of the best buzzer beating highlights of the year involved a missed free throw, a perfect ricochet and a clutch deep shot, all in the final 1.5 seconds of a girls basketball game. That it all unfolded exactly as it was drawn up is a minor miracle. There’s just one problem: As perfect as it was, it still never should have counted.
Here’s the play in question, as distributed by our friends at Overtime:
So, here’s what we know: the team pulling off this end game comeback masterclass is Renton (Wash.) High School, with Tamika Barbee-Welch one of the players involved. The buzzer beater appears to have come from Renton’s 60-58 victory against Foster High School (Tukwila, Wash.). And while there’s no questioning Renton’s execution, there is questioning whether the play was legal.
If you look at the play again in detail, you’ll notice that the free throw shooter actually crosses the foul line before the ball hit the rim. That’s a foul free throw, which in this case should have handed the ball back to Foster for an inbound pass.
Then there was the clock. The free throw was attempted with 1.3 seconds remaining on the clock, and the time should have begun running as soon as the ball hit the rim. It didn’t, and instead only ran once the ball was touched on the perimeter, likely more than a second later.
If the clock had run when it was intended, would the buzzer have sounded before the shot? It seems likely.
Do either of these factors undermine just how brilliant a play it was? Of course not. And in the end, it counted on the scoresheet because the officials didn’t catch it.