No. 1-ranked South Atlanta loses amid clock controversy

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South Atlanta basketball coach Michael Reddick is not pointing any fingers, other than to say an incorrect scoreboard affected his “team strategy” in Saturday’s stunning 72-67 loss to Spalding County.

It was South Atlanta’s first regular-season loss to a Georgia team in nearly three years. The Hornets are ranked No. 1 in Class AA, and won last year’s state championship while being led by schoolboy legend Derrick Favors [now at Georgia Tech].

“It was unfortunate, but I don’t feel like the (scoreboard) issue was intentional,” Reddick said. “It just made for a lot of confusion for us at the end of the game.”

For Spalding, it was the biggest win in school history. “That win kind of ranks on top of everything else,” coach Cecil Spear said. “It says a lot for our program and what we’re trying to build.”

Here’s what happened:

> With 40 seconds remaining, South Atlanta had possession of the ball with the scoreboard showing 68-68.

> As South Atlanta ran time off the clock to set up a shot at the buzzer, the scoreboard switched to show Spalding ahead 68-67. South Atlanta’s players noticed the switch and panicked, with James Arnold launching a 3-point attempt that missed.

> South Atlanta quickly fouled Spalding’s Rodney Gilbert with 13 seconds remaining. Reddick was confused, “Why did we shoot so early? And why were we fouling with the game tied?” His players pointed to the scoreboard, and both coaches went to the scoring table for an explanation.

“The scorekeeper had given us one too many points with about 1:30 left in the game, discovered the error, and made the correction on the scoreboard,” Reddick said. “We verified both books, and that indeed was correct. I just wish the (scorekeeper) had blown the horn or stopped the game to make everyone aware of the correction. We would’ve had a different strategy than (Arnold’s shot) at the end.”

> Gilbert made both foul shots, South Atlanta’s Rashuad Bell missed a 3-pointer, and Spalding’s Chris Mayes made two free throws to seal the win.

“I feel bad about the loss,” Reddick said. “The streak was a source of pride for our program. Maybe it will make us wake up and play the way we need to play. I think our kids take winning for granted. If we play like we are now, we’re going to have an early exit from the playoffs, and that’s something we don’t want to happen.”

38 comments Add your comment


January 24th, 2010
9:51 pm

Hmmmm…now I know what the Philips Arena scorekeepers/clock operators do on Hawks’ off nights.

Sucks for South Atlanta, but errors like this occur in high school sports all the time. It’s the nature of things when volunteers and part-timers are charged with taking care of precise actions.

Executive Stinger

January 24th, 2010
10:17 pm

It definitely seems like someone “official” should be operating the scoreboard, even in high school games. This kind of thing shouldn’t happen, and I agree with Coach Reddick that the officials should have stopped play.


January 24th, 2010
10:47 pm

Would you prefer swiss or provolone to go with that whine?

Seriously, it’s the coach’s job to know what the score and situation is at all times.


January 24th, 2010
11:48 pm

Uh, Ahmad – do you think the coach, in the midst of the tension of a final possession game, is cross checking his scorebooks against the official scorekeepers.

I really couldn’t care less who wins this game, but that comment is pathetically foolish. The guys from South Atlanta have a legitimate gripe.


January 25th, 2010
3:13 am



January 25th, 2010
6:53 am

Well some do anything to win. It was probably Ahmad’s idea to have the clock worker to do this in the first place.


January 25th, 2010
8:00 am

Was at the Ola at Stockbridge game on Friday and they had a student working the clock and keeping official score. In the closing seconds their was a problem with the clock and situation with the Ola book having a Stockbridge player with a fifth foul, but the official book said only four. Of course you have to go with the official book.
The GHSA should require all official scorebook and clock operators to attend a clinic on proper procedure. Also, PA announcers should have to attend a workshop. Some things said and done at high school games are totally uncalled for.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

January 25th, 2010
8:00 am

who cares, not even the best team in AA

Legend of Len Barker

January 25th, 2010
8:25 am

First and foremost, the scoreboard means absolutely nothing. The numbers in the score column are a visual aid and that’s it. Technically, the clock doesn’t have to function on the scoreboard, either, as I used to work games in a Roosevelt era gym where the clock was kept on a stopwatch as the big one died and there wasn’t the money to fix it.

I’ve worked behind the table for several years. There is something that I wager wasn’t asked of Coach Reddick or of the referees. I wager this because it’s absolutely universal.

Fans will let you know if the score is incorrect. I’d imagine this place was pretty packed, considering both teams are good and I’d additionally imagine that the Spalding fans would have screamed their heads off when South Atlanta was credited with a point they didn’t earn. Someone always has their eye on the scoreboard and they’re always quite quick to point it out if it’s incorrect.

I believe Reddick would have noticed fairly quickly if the scoreboard was off, so something sounds fishy that all of a sudden he notices the score in front of him wasn’t what he thought it was.

I disagree that you need clinics to teach scorebook or scoreboard keepers. There is already a training mode: middle school games. Slower action and a more relaxed atmosphere (usually).

The issue is that most schools don’t want to pay experienced scorebook or scoreboard keepers their worth and don’t realize how important a smoothly-run table is. The experienced ones get tired of doing it for peanuts and there isn’t nearly enough incentive to go on road trips. The latter mainly applies to the huge rural regions in the southern half of the state. So, you get kids running the show who don’t have enough experience in tight games.


January 25th, 2010
8:41 am

Clinics, do not hurt. All programs have volunteers working the events. From Swim team stroke judges, to football chain gangs, tennis line judges….


January 25th, 2010
9:13 am

I agree with Len Barker. I’ve kept a scorebook or scoreboard for 40 years, including state championship games. Fans will always let you know if the visual score is not correct. The only reason most people work the table at these high pressure jobs is because they love the game and the kids. The pay is pitiful.

Clinics are out of the question. You can only learn the craft by working at the actual games, and middle school is a great place to start.

Players, coaches, and referees make mistakes. But let the table make a blunder and the whole world wants your head. The job is much harder than one thinks. Fans never tell the people at the table, “Nice job.” But I can assure you they will ask you how many points their child scored.


January 25th, 2010
9:15 am

who is the jerk who can’t even bother to properly spell “controversial” in this story’s headline? I wonder if s/he’s Caucasian or Negro or some other race.


January 25th, 2010
9:36 am

Bank-Ranger, Who Cares? I do because you’re hurting the kids that work their a@@ off and lose when someone makes a stupid mistake.


January 25th, 2010
10:08 am

Obviously, Ahmed has never coached a day in his life. Dude, a coach cannot keep track of every score in the game. As a coach, I do watch the scoreboard but in basketball, you have so much to keep track of, player fouls, substitutions, etc. Tell me how you can keep track of the score while you coach, I hope you keep a book while your coaching cause that probably means your not winning many ballgames.


January 25th, 2010
10:31 am

I’ve worked the clock and book for middle school games for over 6 seasons and its not as easy as it looks, especially in fast-paced, tight games. In such a game, yes the table could have notified the refs and coaches during a dead-ball, but there is no requirement to stop the game to do so. Most high school volunteers are experienced, focused and dedicated to managing the game properly. I haven’t seen students manning the table in any high school game. The table is part of the officiating crew, and like the refs, they do make mistakes. Its very rare to affect the game’s outcome like this. By the way, if the team noticed the change on the scoreboard maybe a time-out would have been prudent. The refs might have made it an official time out and not charged the team in order to correct the score.

Eagle 1

January 25th, 2010
11:36 am

LMAO!!!!! The Clock

Mr. Thomas Anthony "The Taxman Cometh" Jones, SR (Waf-SS, Lt. Colonel, 13th SS Panzer Divsion, Breman, Germany,ret.)

January 25th, 2010
1:39 pm

Enter your comments here


January 25th, 2010
2:06 pm

I am a believer in that while there are a lot of officials who don’t belong on the court, a game should not come down to a decision made.
Having said that, a lot of places usually have a manager of their team handle the official scorebook or some other volunteer and more times than not they do a good job.
However, this has more of an impact on the outcome of a game than a referee and those handling the duties need to know how to do it.
As for South Atlanta, you have to lose a game now and then so you can start another streak of wins.


January 25th, 2010
3:19 pm

As stricktly a volunteer I keep the books for our High School Varsity games both at home and on the road but have never been paid a penny to do so and don’t want any money. I enjoy the intense spirit of high school basketball. Let me tell you that between the refs standing in front of you during play and the pace of some of these games there are always discussions going on at the table about substitutions, who did what and team fouls vs personal fouls. We at the table are always comparing results at the time outs and breaks to get it right but in the heat of the game it would be tuff to stop the game just to clarify what we do usually at the breaks. I can assure you that all of the people (never worked with an unqualified person) at the table are serious about doing the best job possible. I’m sure those involved were waiting for a break in the action to get it right. Bad break for the South Atlanta kids though!

I know

January 25th, 2010
4:39 pm

South Atlanta had 1:30 left on the clock when both coaches were made aware of the scoreboard mistake. S. Atlanta had 3 possessions after their coach was made aware of the correction and missed their shots. Spalding made their free throws and won the game. Plain and simple. S. Atlanta chocked under pressure! no one to blame but themselves. Spin it however you wish. Unbiased observer who was at the game. Congrats to Spalding!


January 25th, 2010
6:27 pm

This is a bad break for South Atlanta kids. It may make them focus and put a better effort against other teams, though.

Eagle 1

January 25th, 2010
6:40 pm

What does the clock have to do with S.Atlanta losing.If they were a real #1 team,they would have blown out Spalding to begin with.
Ajc i told you earlier… its that weak schedule they play. When it got tough they cracked under pressure!!! Spalding is not the only team thats gonna beatem. That record look good on paper!!!
Columbia Eagles battle tested look it up!!!
LMAO They loss because of the clock… I dunn heard it all!!!

Eagle 1

January 25th, 2010
6:42 pm

I forgot…Poorrrr South Atlanta!!!!!

Melinda Owens

January 25th, 2010
9:47 pm

To all who have something to say negatively about the scorekeeper, listen up earlier in the game, he gave Spalding 3 points that belonged to South Atlanta and all the fans (SA & Spalding) and coaches (South Atl.) said something. This was no different. Why didn’t South Atlanta’s fans make some noise when they were given a point they didn’t deserve. A coach or someone entrusted with stats on every team should keep up with the team’s score to catch errors. People make mistakes and that is what it was. He was a student & didn’t & would not have done anything intentional to displace dishonesty. Unless you know the whole story, please keep your negative comments to yourself.

Stop crying

January 25th, 2010
10:02 pm

Mr. Thomas Anthony “The Taxman Cometh” Jones, SR (Waf-SS, Lt. Colonel, 13th SS Panzer Divsion, Breman, Germany,ret.), R U serious? What a simple minded person! It is not that serious.

Stop crying

January 25th, 2010
10:03 pm

Bill get a life! Mistakes happen. Apparently you’ve never made one????Yeah right!

golden tornado

January 26th, 2010
11:52 am

If the S. Atlanta coach wouldn’t have tried to get away with the “extra” point that he knew he didn’t have, things would have been different.


January 26th, 2010
11:58 am

Eagle 1:… Didn’t Columbia get eliminated by South Atlana in State Semi-Finals last year? Stop hating. Problem is that the scoreboard changed *during* the play, as final seconds ran down – which confused the ballhandler… Play should have been stopped, and the clock reset. This was at Spalding’s gym, so they were responsible for clock and scoreboard. But hey, officials do make mistakes. Ask Brett Farve’s Vikings about bad calls.

Eagle 1

January 26th, 2010
1:03 pm

@Eddie Mars I aint hating…You are rite we did get eliminated by a very good S.Atlanta team.I gave them their props like a man when Columbia lost. That was last year…this is now!!!
Still LMAO…the clock???

just a fan

January 26th, 2010
8:13 pm

It is a lost for then but its not South Atlanta fault for having to play in that weak region. But this team is still young with just 1 senior so we will see when it really count in the state playoff. And ColumBia better Win or we will hear “What Had Happen Was” if they lose.

Stop crying

January 26th, 2010
8:26 pm

coach reddick and south atlanta; man up and take your but whipping. you came in thinking you already had the game won. you got out played and got beat; get over it!!!!!!

Stop crying

January 26th, 2010
8:46 pm

Why didn’t one of the players or coaches call time out to stop the play as Eddie Mars said? When a game is THAT close, every1 watches the clock. The players, coaches, & fans knew the score was wrong. This is old news! We are moving on………………………………………………
Try to do the same!

Devil Lover

January 29th, 2010
7:57 am

Hey Micheal. When can we have a discussion about something important like who is going to win the 5A state championship. With just less than one month, Feb 26th, the first round of the state tournament begins. With Milton showing some weakness, it looks like anyone tounament.

What do you say?

Eagle 1

January 29th, 2010
11:18 pm

Hey Micheal the McDonalds All American nominee list is out…can we please get some coverage on the Ga guys!!! Geesh!!


January 31st, 2010
12:28 pm


January 31st, 2010
12:37 pm

Eagle 1(AKA THE 1ST LOSER) is the BIGGEST SOUTH ATLANTA HATER on the planet.

Eagle 1

January 31st, 2010
2:38 pm

Lol!!!! Old newz!!


February 2nd, 2010
6:49 pm

Big Deal!!!!