Scorebook error?: In Diamond Ranch’s 82-70 overtime loss to Gardena Serra in Saturday’s Division 3AA girls semifinal at North Torrance HS, there were controversial scorebook issues that may have had a direct outcome in the game. In fact, in a letter addressed to Serra principal Mike Wagner on behalf of several Diamond Ranch parents (which I obtained), they want an apology, even suggesting that Serra should forfeit over what they feel was a huge injustice. Diamond Ranch coach Mike James explained what happened to me on Monday, but said the school is not protesting, though he is upset at how the events unfolded.
Clarification: coach Mike James filed a protest after the game, which was immediately turned down, he said. When I called CIF on Monday to ask if anything had been filed in regards to the game, they said no. What I gather from this is there was obviously a decision made after the game, and it ended there.
What happened: James said that Serra’s leading scorer Sierra Thompson (28 points) fouled out with just under a minute to play in Saturday’s game. James said Thompson left the game, sat on the bench, and put a jacket on looking distraught. At that time Serra’s scorekeeper alerted the Serra bench, saying it only had Thompson for three fouls. James immediately challenged, noting his scorekeeper and bench scorekeeper had Thompson for five fouls. James said while looking at Serra’s book, he also noted Serra had Diamond Ranch players marked with fouls who never played in the game. The officials gathered and determined the “home” book was the book of record, allowing Thompson back into the game with only three fouls. Thompson then hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to give Serra a two-point lead. Chelsea Barnes scored in the closing seconds to send the game into overtime. Thompson then scored 10 points in overtime to seal the victory. James knows there is nothing he can do now, but he said his athletic director watched the game on video and sure enough, he claims Thompson had five fouls.
Coach Mike James responds: Just to make sure that everyone is clear on this situation. There was a protest filed by Diamond Ranch. It was turned down. The ruling was that it was an officials judgment to allow this player to re-enter the game. The Diamond Ranch scorekeeper was checking with the official book to make sure that they matched up. All of a sudden they didn’t match up in the 4th quarter with 32 seconds left in the game. There were players from Diamond Ranch who had fouls and didn’t even play in the game. There were also players that fouled out who only had 3 fouls. This was a great game between 2 great teams. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. The bigger question is are we really to the point where winning at all cost is more important than sportsmanship and integrity. For these kids to have to lose in this manner just makes for a hard pill to swallow. Especially when the video clearly shows this player had fouled out.
CIF can’t just turn a blind eye to situations like this. Once you get to this level of the playoffs we have 3 man officiating crews and neutral sites. They need to take the next step and have a neutral party as the official scorer. This will of course will not help us this season since what is done is done. I just want people reading this to know that Diamond Ranch did talk to CIF officials about this situation. With all the evidence that was presented to them they have to think that at the very least there is SOMETHING there, and they need to make some changes in the near future.
Diamond Ranch Girls Basketball