The Georgia High School Association takes questions about the controversial ending to basketball playoff game (UPDATED)

  • Believe it or not? Milton defeats Norcross with time expired. Click here.

The state’s basketball community is still buzzing about the controversial ending to Milton’s 52-51 win over Norcross in the state playoffs. A referee determined that Milton’s Julian Royal was fouled while attempting a rebound at the same time as the final buzzer sounded. Royal was awarded two foul shots with time expired and sank both, with the second one winning it for Milton.

Ernie Yarbrough, the GHSA’s director of basketball officials, spoke with the AJC’s Michael Carvell on Monday:

Q. How can you have a foul called with no time left on the clock?

A. Here’s the problem with high schools. You don’t have a TV instant replay like you do in college where you can go back and look at it. (On time being expired), in high school basketball, the rules do allow for simultaneous actions to take place. So, not being there, I spoke with the GHSA representative (Henry County’s Chuck Miller) who was there, and he told me the officials handled it correctly.

YOU BE THE REF. What was your call at the buzzer of Milton-Norcross?

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Q. Can you explain the turn of events?

A. (Miller) said the officials got together and discussed what happened, and the time sequence of when it happened … in fact, (Miller) said they came to the scorer’s table and asked the clock operator — Which was first? The whistle or the horn? And the timer told them the whistle was first.

Q. Does Norcross have any recourse?

A. No, anytime it’s an officials’ judgment, there are no protests allowed in any GHSA sports. The only recourse they have, and it doesn’t soothe the pain of losing the game, is that if a school feels like the officials ruled in error, then they can submit an unsatisfactory officiating report, which would be reviewed and ruled upon by me. But it’s not going to change the outcome of the game.

Q. Does the GHSA penalize referees for bad calls?

A. We don’t penalize for poor judgment, but we do for misapplication of rules. In this case, there was not a misapplication of rules because no rule was violated.

Q. Were you aware of the controversy?

A. Yes, (Miller) called me immediately after the game and informed me what happened and that it was handled correctly. Whether the foul that occurred before the free throws was a good call, I can’t tell from the video I’ve seen. But I can tell you that the official was much closer to the action than me, and felt like the call needed to be made.

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We have video of the the final seconds to the controversial ending to the Milton-Norcross game from Saturday’s Class AAAAA quarterfinals.

Let’s set up the scene: Norcross was winning by a point with 10.2 seconds left in regulation. Milton drove down the court and missed two shots, and Norcross celebrates as if it has won. However, a referee determined that Milton’s Julian Royal was fouled while attempting to rebound somewhere around the time of the final buzzer.

You know the rest of the story: Royal makes both foul shots to give Milton the 52-51 win and, more importantly, a berth in the state semifinals.

139 comments Add your comment

d

March 8th, 2010
5:14 pm

d

March 8th, 2010
5:15 pm

BTW..You cant have a foul with no time left. It is an imposssiblity. If time expired the game was over. Even the GHSA can or should see that. I dont have a dog in the fight, but common sense is there for a reason.

stw

March 8th, 2010
5:21 pm

Lets face it..we probably get what we pay for. These refs make about $50 and what they do is done for the love of the game.They do their best so accept it. Sorry people, but this is not a perfect world.

ftw

March 8th, 2010
5:40 pm

regardless of if the foul should have been called, if they say the whistle came before the horn (which it did) then they should have put at least .1 seconds on the clock. if they can’t tell how much time, they should have at least known it was more than 0. even if they put .5 seconds back on the clock at least you give both teams a fighting chance.

G-Lyin

March 8th, 2010
5:57 pm

Based on the quality of officiating seen this year, some people are doing it for the money – with little, if any, respect or love for the game.

Mike the Ref

March 8th, 2010
6:06 pm

if you feel the quality of officiating has been poor this year, the GHSA has a camp for officials the first weekend in June usually at Ga Tech, feel free to show up with a shirt and whistle and join in!

stw

March 8th, 2010
6:18 pm

G-Lyin: Just one question–What is your officiating experience in “ANY” sport?? Usually the biggest complainers are those who have never played an organized sport..

Ron

March 8th, 2010
6:18 pm

It all comes down to the referee blowing the call. You should never call a foul at that time of the game, unless it is a flagrant. They blew the call. That is the honest the god truth.

Some Sense

March 8th, 2010
6:18 pm

Really simple, guys. Call should never have been made, and the guy knows it.

stw

March 8th, 2010
6:25 pm

RON: If it’s a foul in the first minute then its a foul at the end…SOME SENSE; Too bad you don’t have any common sense.

Idiotrefs

March 8th, 2010
6:26 pm

There was a mispplication of rules I heard. They did not allow the coach to call a timeout before the free throws because they said time expired. They were wrong!

Big Mac

March 8th, 2010
6:35 pm

I officiate high school basketball. If the whistle was before the horn then time should have been put on the clock. Atleast .3 of a sec because that would have given the other team atleast a chance. You cannot get a try or tip with less than .3 of a second. There were a lot of other things that went on that caused Norcross to lose that game(turnovers, missed free throws, ect.). Fouls should be called at all times of the game, beginning or end. Also, when officials make calls, they will be 50/50 with the fans. One teams likes it, other team doesn’t.

stw

March 8th, 2010
6:44 pm

BIG MAC: Could you quote the section of the GHSA basketball rulebook that states that at least .3 of a second should have been put on the clock. You can’t because its not in there…If that’s the case then you would have to put more time on the clock after every whistle. High school makes no allowance for the fraction of a second between whistle and clock stoppage.

bigdog

March 8th, 2010
7:13 pm

Well, as Ive state before, Norcross got the shaft on that one, but historically they have benefitted from a lot of questionable calls at honme (specifically the mauling of JJ Hickson for his put back win in 07 — the year they went on to win state). It all evens out in the end.

GssiT

March 8th, 2010
7:24 pm

Foul before the horn. .3 on the clock is what is done in all the mandatory “camps” that these officials must attend to have a chance at a state tournament game. Having to ask the scorer which came first is “passing the buck”. One official is responsible for that last second shot. Why then did two officials wipe off the attempt. Ernie’s comments are all hearsay. Why not go directly to the Chucker?

Biff Pocaroba

March 8th, 2010
7:45 pm

What a case of stupidity. If the whistle was heard before the buzzer, then there was time left on the clock. Mr. Carvell, please follow up with Ernie Yarbrough and let him try to cover this up some more. It sounds like he’s Frank Wren trying to explain a trade.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
8:20 pm

First of all, I want to thank Mr. Yarbrough for taking questions on this topic. He was not at the game, and did his best to provide insight. With that said, however, I THINK IT WAS A BAD CALL, ONE OF THE WORST I’VE SEEN IN MY 25 YEARS OF COVERING SPORTS. I know referees are human, and they do make mistakes (like all of us). Most referees do it for the love of the game, surely not the money. But this ref, in my humble opinion, blew it. In my humble opinion, it was either a “no call” or time expired.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
8:26 pm

A few things … what really bothers me is that the person who had the FINAL SAY … on this epic finish … of all people … was the CLOCK OPERATOR, according to the on-site GHSA representative. I was at the game. IT WAS SO LOUD I could barely hear the person next to me. Yet the clock person, who was 50 feet away from the play, heard the whistle before the horn????? I respectfully find that hard to believe.

North Fulton Sports Guy

March 8th, 2010
8:35 pm

I’ll offer this, everyone on press row (15 feet away from the play) thought it was a foul. But we didn’t all agree if it came before or after the whistle. The video on youtube was shot from the upper deck and really doesn’t do the foul justice.

By the way, maybe Henry County’s Chuck Miller wasn’t actually paying attention at all because the GHSA doesn’t even know what the final score was (no knock on you Carvell, you got your score from them).

North Fulton Sports Guy

March 8th, 2010
8:37 pm

BTW, Carvell, what side of press row were you on, two guys next to me and myself thought foul, so I shouldn’t say everyone.

clayton lifer

March 8th, 2010
8:42 pm

If we play games at college arenas that uses the technology that the whistle stops the horn (most all colleges use this) why can’t the GHSA implement this in quarterfinal, semi-final and final action? This would have immediately solved the problem because the clock was a 00 and the game appears to be over when he blew the whistle.
He should have swalled the whistle but life will go on.

bigben

March 8th, 2010
8:48 pm

One thing that no one has mentioned is the fact that the game was stopped TWO SEPARATE times during the 4th quarter due to issues with fouls and the official book.

TWO SEPARATE TIMES the official book (GHSA appointed) said Jeremy Lamb had fouled out and BOTH times the official book was corrected by the Norcross book-keeper AND the Milton book-keeper.

For the two best teams in the state and two of the best in the Southeast to have to play in the quarterfinals is bad enough. For them to have to play in the quarterfinals and then have to put up with such sorry officials is a travesty.

bigben

March 8th, 2010
8:49 pm

Also, why did the red light around the backboard NOT go off at the end of the game. I know it works because it went off on the same basket when the SAME official waved off Jeremy Lamb’s layup at the buzzer.

WHY DID THE RED LIGHT NOT GO OFF AT THE END OF THE GAME?????

NOTCROSS very sad

March 8th, 2010
9:00 pm

Notcross is a very sad person. Either A) an opposing coach that Norcross beat repeatedly, B) the referee in question, or C) David Boyd himself (as he has repeatedly found his way onto messageboards)

Brent

March 8th, 2010
9:01 pm

I am just wondering how much the GHSA is paying stw to keep posting stupid comments. The game is over, the ref blew the call if you have seen the video is obvious. However it is not going to change them game. I am a NHS fan and I am pretty sure they are the worst free throw shooting team in the state. Honestly I think they coach should go for not teaching free throw shooting. He is definitely no Eddie Martin.

Squilldog

March 8th, 2010
9:02 pm

I happened to be right next to that basket and I can say as an unbiased observer that that was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. You can’t make that call at that point in the game. In the first quarter, MAYBE, but at the buzzer on a play that wouldn’t have resulted in a score…just awful. The Milton player would have never gotten a shot off in time. It was pretty much a scramble and you decide the game on a rebounding call? Nothing to call that but AWFUL. Sorry Norcross. You made the plays down the stretch and deserved to win.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
9:09 pm

North Fulton Sports Guy, excellent points my friend. As we both know, it was a physical game, lots of contact between both teams. If anything, I thought the Milton kid who took the final shot was clearly fouled but that was not called. He got smacked. And then to call a foul while Milton’s Julian Royal was battling for the rebound at the buzzer, well that was a “no call” to me. Maybe if he was shooting it, or trying to tip it in. But no, not while scrambling for a rebound at the buzzer. (On another note, Mr. Royal, those were two of the most clutch free throws I’ve ever seen. Congrats big guy).

Reality

March 8th, 2010
9:10 pm

Ok, to the person writing this article I would like to point out that in no way, any league, division, level of basketball, replay or not, can you end a game with free throws. This is physically impossible. So some of your credibility is lost in stating that. Secondly, one of the main rules, if not THE main rule of refing is that a call you make should not decide the outcome of the game. Thirdly,watching video of this makes it fairly clear that the call was made after the buzzer. Due to all of these facts, the game should be overturned due to what you call “unsatifactory refing.” However, since you say this won’t happen for whatever reason, the most fair and just way of ending this is to simply play the game over Tuesday or Wednesday night. If Milton really is the better team, they will win for real, no questions asked. You cannot allow a team to move on and probably win the state championship based on this technical catastrophe. If they are permitted to move on ithout overturining the call or replaying the game, their championship will be worthless. And I know the Milton fans want a legit championship. you re the best tea, you will win the game again. PLAY THE GAME OVER! IT”S FAIR IN EVERY WAY!

Reality

March 8th, 2010
9:15 pm

And literally, it is SO clear watching this video that the call is made after the clock hits 0.0… Game over, Norcross wins, call cannot be made. Just ridiculous GHSA if you don’t do something about this.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
9:16 pm

Another thing that bothered me is that this same ref who made the Milton-Norcross call at the buzzer ALSO made another huge call later that same day in FOURTH QUARTER of the Central Gwinnett vs. McEachern game. The score was tied, and he whistled CG’s coach for a technical. Fortunately for CG, they used it as a rallying point to win the game. For one ref to make two big calls like that the same night, well that was unusual in my experiences.

Mike

March 8th, 2010
9:17 pm

the clock keeper heard the whistle- it’s a cover

Reality

March 8th, 2010
9:18 pm

And literally, if you have eyes that work, it’s so obvious that the call is made AFTER the buzzer, this means game over, Norcross wins.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
9:20 pm

Reality, Mr. Yarbrough said “(On time being expired), in high school basketball, the rules do allow for simultaneous actions to take place.” … I can only go by what the GHSA says.

Truth

March 8th, 2010
9:23 pm

Let’s think about this GHSA: As a timer, you are told what? To stop the clock when you hear a whistle. So, the clock should have been stopped when the CALL was made, not when the foul was committed. And, as this video shows as clear as daylight, the ref MAKES THE CALL AFTER THE CLOCK HITS 0.0. You cannot call a foul, and furthermore award freethows to a call that was made after the game had ended.

Reality

March 8th, 2010
9:25 pm

Michael, even if GHSA wants to make up bogus rules, it doesn’t even apply here, because the foul was after the game was over. You can’t make a call after the game is over.

Brent?

March 8th, 2010
9:28 pm

the Norcross coach should be canned due to freethrows? No Eddie Martin?

The three state championship teams at Norcross coached by E.Martin were terrible freethrow shooting teams. Demercy, Neismith, LAWAL? They were HORRIBLE free throw shooters.

I hope you were just kidding.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
9:28 pm

Mike, I don’t think it’s a coverup. Milton won this game, and heck they probably will win state. HOWEVER, I do find it very interesting that the biggest decision of this game … on whether or not the foul was called before, during or after the final buzzer … was made by the clock operator, who again was 50 feet away in a VERY, VERY LOUD ATMOSPHERE.

Mike

March 8th, 2010
9:34 pm

Mike, he is justifying the ref’s call by saying the scorekeeper heard it. don’t be naive. He is covering and justifying.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
9:36 pm

Something else that was very fascinating was … during all the confusion when the officials were deciding what to do … the Norcross coach acted like the perfect gentlemen. Nothing but class. He put his faith in the officiating crew and let it be. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I think every other coach on the face of the planet would’ve been screaming, hollering, dancing, jumping … doing anything possible to convince the referees that his team had been wronged. Agree or disagree?

Meanwhile, Milton’s coach sure did make a case for his player getting fouled, TO DAVID BOYD’S CREDIT. The referee who made the call was right next to the Milton bench.

Mike

March 8th, 2010
9:37 pm

Mike,

I agree no fight. can you imagine the Celtics of the eighties with Bird being quiet. They were the biggest whiners ever.

Notcross

March 8th, 2010
9:41 pm

1. The foul occurred during regulation
2. ref in position saw the foul and CALLED IT
doesn’t really matter when the whistle blew and the game ends when the refs say the game ends not at the horn exactly what the refs said happened happened
“The explanation I got from the ref was ‘We don’t have replay, so there is no way to say how much time we should put on there.’ He explained it the best he could.”

Mike

March 8th, 2010
9:43 pm

Notcross, you are a homer and I doubt very much that you ever played

Reality

March 8th, 2010
9:44 pm

Notcross, you are simply wrong. The call is made when the offical makes the call, not when the foul occurs, and since the call was clearly made after the clock reaches 0.0, the game was over before the call was made. This means no call was ever made during the game and no free throws can be awarded, or a foul put in the scorebook.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
9:49 pm

A few other things … Mr. Yarbrough said this officiating crew was a veteran crew that had called state championships before. He also said that none of the referees had worked a Milton or Norcross game this year prior to this one.

bigdog

March 8th, 2010
9:54 pm

Michael, I agree in spirit that that call is rarely made, and maybe Norcross should have been given .3 seconds on the clock, and maybe a timeout for Norcross should have been awarded, but a foul is a foul (unless its a fowl)….’nuff said. Maybe the Norcross kid should have tried to CONTEST the shot instead of just grabbing the player. I think its a bad habbit that our young players have gotten into: just grabbing instead of tring to defend. A grab is a foul, no matter what time is on the clock.

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
9:56 pm

Bigdog: Thanks for your post. No shot was being contested. Royal was fighting for the rebound, not in the act of shooting.

Notcross

March 8th, 2010
9:59 pm

“The call is made when the offical makes the call, ”
Words of wisdom to live by from Reality

Central Gwinnett Coach

March 8th, 2010
10:00 pm

The technical called against me was a poor call. All I said to the ref was that he blew the call in the Milton-Norcross game.

Reality

March 8th, 2010
10:02 pm

Notcross, is that you giving in to justice?

Michael Carvell

March 8th, 2010
10:04 pm

“Central Gwinnett Coach” … that may be the funniest comment of the MONTH.