UPDATE: Explosive video shown by NBC’s Fred Roggin shows that No. 32 had five fouls …
View more videos at: http://www.nbclosangeles.com.
UPDATE: Serra answers questions in today’s Daily Breeze story…Serra coach McKinsey Hadley describes what happened at the scoring table … Read the full story: “There was some discrepancy at the referee’s table,” Hadley said. “The ref said she had five fouls, so I took her out. Then they came back to me and said she doesn’t have five fouls, so I put her back in the game.”
TODAY’S TRIBUNE STORY
By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Diamond Ranch High School’s girls basketball team is painfully coming to grips with the fact that nothing can be done about what the Panthers feel was a gross injustice that likely cost them a chance to play in Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA championship game at Anaheim Convention Center. At issue is the final minute of regulation in Diamond Ranch’s 82-70 loss to Serra of Gardena on Saturday night in the semifinals of the 3AA playoffs at North Torrance High. With 32 seconds left to play in regulation and Diamond Ranch ahead 63-62, Serra’s Sierra Thompson picked up what Diamond Ranch officials believed to be her fifth foul, thus disqualifying her from the game. (To continue click thread)
Fred’s reaction: The only part that I question about Serra coach McKinsey Hadley’s comments is that one, coaches know when players are in foul trouble, they are constantly checking with assistants and scorekeepers during the game. In reading his comments it sounded to me that he was not interested at all in going over the video and finding the truth, he’s probably more concerned with preparing for Serra’s championship. If Hadley looked at the video and knows for sure whether his player fouled out or not, which is Diamond Ranch’s assertion, at the very least he and Serra should offer Diamond Ranch an apology. After all, if it was simply a mistake, it was a home team’s mistake that might have robbed the visitors of an opportunity to play for a title. Pursing victory with honor? This is what it’s all about.
According to Diamond Ranch officials, Thompson left the court, removed her jersey and dejectedly took a seat on Serra’s bench. She was then comforted by somebody from out of the stands.
Meanwhile, Diamond Ranch officials contend, an adult came out of the stands, went to the scorer’s table and started talking with Serra’s scorekeeper for the game. Moments later, Thompson was re-entering the game, with Serra’s scorekeeper claiming he had made a mistake and had Thompson with only three fouls.
Following a protest by Diamond Ranch coach Mike James, the head game official determined that, per CIF rules, the home team’s scorekeeper’s book is the official book for the game and that Thompson would be allowed to return to the game, which she did, and promptly hit a 3-pointer to put Serra ahead by two before Diamond Ranch tied the game at the buzzer with a layup by Erika Williams to send it into overtime.
Thompson went on to score 10 points in overtime as Serra punched its ticket to play in the division championship.
Thompson finished with 28 points.
Was the Serra scorekeeper’s book manipulated to keep Thompson in the game?
That’s what Diamond Ranch is wondering as it awaits word on whether its season will continue in next week’s state playoffs. One thing is for certain, though: CIF will take no action to reverse the outcome of Saturday’s game.
“If there’s a misapplication of the rules, then at that moment in the game, they (Diamond Ranch in this case) would make the official aware of it,” CIF-Southern Section spokesperson Thom Simmons said Tuesday.
“The official, at that moment, would then adjudicate it right then and there, and he would either agree or disagree. In the (CIF) blue book, it says we do not adjudicate after the fact.”
According to Simmons, the referees made the right decision to side with the host team’s scorebook. That outcome didn’t sit well, though, with Diamond Ranch athletic director Candace Cayer, who was in attendance and sent a text message to CIF-Southern Section assistant commissioner in charge of basketball Rainer Wulf immediately following the game.
“I decided to appeal it under CIF rule 112.2, which involves an ineligible player,” Cayer said. “And I believe that at the point she had fouled out and then returned to the game, that made her an ineligible player. That was not the rule application that CIF ruled it under.
“They ruled it under 112.3, which states that as an official makes a decision, then regardless of whether a rule was misapplied or not, there is no formal means for protest.”
Cayer has since watched the video replay of the game and claims it shows Thompson did have five fouls, which would jibe with Diamond Ranch’s official book for the game, and a Panthers assistant coach’s tally of fouls as well.
In the wake of Saturday’s loss, angered Diamond Ranch parents have sent a letter to CIF to express their disappointment. Panthers coach Mike James made his feelings known by taking to this newspaper’s prep sports blog to issue some pointed words about last Saturday’s events.
“This was a great game between 2 great teams,” James’ statement read. “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.”
Phone calls seeking comment from Serra athletic director Ted Dunlap weren’t returned. Serra plays St. Joseph of Santa Maria in Saturday’s championship game.
In most cases, a scorebook is kept by both teams, and in optimal situations both books are used to check and balance each other, but Cayer is now wondering whether that helps if the game officials are supposed to automatically side with the home team’s book, even if both don’t match up.
“Our scorekeeper was adamantly stating, at the time, that she (Thompson) had five (fouls),” Cayer said.
“I did not see the referee check our scorebook. He took the (Serra) scorekeeper’s word for it.”
With no further action expected to come from the school, Cayer said she’s hopeful that something can be done by CIF to ensure that another scenario like the one Diamond Ranch experienced Saturday won’t happen to somebody else.
“For the administration at Diamond Ranch, we are really proud of our girls,” Cayer said.
“It’s just sad that the cloud isn’t just above our girls’ heads, it’s also hanging over Serra. It’s a lose-lose for all the kids.”