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.
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.