It’s report card time for the high school referees during state championship week (UPDATED)

Did you see it during the basketball state championships on Saturday? It was something that some people are calling the “Milton vs. Norcross rule.”Referees

In the Class AAA state championship game, a Columbia player was whistled for an offensive charge as the halftime buzzer sounded. There was no time on the clock. What did the referees do? They put time back on the clock, or tried to do so. Some veteran high school coaches sitting in the stands chuckled. You kind of knew what they were thinking.

The scoreboard operator reset the clock to 60 seconds and let it tick down, with both teams standing around. Unfortunately, the clock person whiffed, as time expired again. Rather than hold up TV, the referees restarted play and did a hand count for the final second as LaGrange missed a shot.

If you recall, Milton pulled off a miracle in its controversial win over Norcross in the quarterfinals. Norcross celebrated an apparent win, but one referee ruled that Milton’s Julian Royal had been fouled at the same time as the final buzzer sounded. Royal made both foul shots with time expired, Milton won 52-51, and the rest of history — with Milton winning the Class AAAAA championship two games later.

On Saturday in Macon, GHSA officials still defended the controversial call. However, one longtime basketball referee said, “It has been discussed a lot of (officiating) circles. I doubt you’ll ever see a call like that made again, at least in the playoffs. The next time, just like (the Columbia game), you’re likely to see a fraction of time put back on the clock.”

Rate the referees during the state championship games only

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

What did I think of the officiating during the state championships? I thought there some intentional fouls that were interesting, and that the referees were quick on a couple of technicals. I realize there is no place in basketball for poor sportsmanship. But in a game of that magnitude, you would hope that the referees would give a little more leniency to a player that is competing with an enormous amount of emotion. Perhaps the referees did during those times.  Anyways, overall, I thought the referees did well.  And, refs, thank you all for all you do for high school athletics and the kids.

Now it’s your turn: What did you think of the officiating during the championship games? Please don’t turn this into a referee-bashing forum, but it would be interesting to hear your thoughts. Please post below.

28 comments Add your comment

Devil Lover 12

March 15th, 2010
4:47 pm

After the Milton/Norcross fiasco….I thought the refs let the players “play” a little more, which is good. The refs definitely were not wanting a repeat of that horrendous event! Wjile Milton is a good team, their championship will always be tainted by that call!

Michael, still waiting for you to admit how awesome the Lady Blue Devils were…. beating Redan by double digits!!


March 15th, 2010
4:56 pm

As I stated in an earlier blog, I am a former official in a neighboring state, and the officiating in the Redan-Norcross game was embarrasing. In fact, it was the worst called game that I have ever seen in a title game. Norcross may have won the game anyway, but two calls really turned the game in their favor. The female official called a shooting foul on Redan when it was clear that the Norcross player’s hands were below her waist. Shortly after, no call was made on Norcross as Redan’s no. 10 was going in for a layup, and on the ensuing scramble for the ball a foul was call on Redan when no player has established position on the floor. Both players were diving on the floor after the ball. How can you call a foul on either player; the best call there is a no call. Unless the Redan player used profanity, I thought that the technical foul called on Redan was over the top. Again , as an official you should be a supporting piece in a title game, not the target of conversation. More training should be done to make sure that officials understand their roles in games of this maginitude. Great job to both teams, shame on you to the officials.


March 15th, 2010
5:02 pm

To Devil Lover 12, you had help by the officials in building that double digit lead. The game that I watched was close all the way. Remember, Redan had the ball only trailing by 4 with 1:30 left in the game before things got out of hand. Again, the two freshman were outstanding and the game may have been yours anyway. I had no rooting interest in either team, so the game that I saw was no blowout, but a very competitive contest throughout.

Michael Carvell

March 15th, 2010
5:47 pm

That technical foul against the Redan player was unfortunate. That was a big point of the game, and pretty much ended any hopes of a Redan rally. Perhaps it was justified, I don’t know what was said by the player.


March 15th, 2010
6:01 pm

I watched the 5A girls game and Norcross beat Redan, but they shoot about 45 free throws, to like 15. Norcross did a nice good, but the fouls were not consistent on both ends.


March 15th, 2010
6:14 pm

Refs were letting players play in the championship games, it didn’t look to good with all the pushing and wrestling to get the ball. Thanks to that ref. in the Norcross/Milton game.


March 15th, 2010
8:15 pm

I only saw single A games during the regular season, and they were terrible! Is this where GHSA sends them when they first start to call games??


March 15th, 2010
8:33 pm

Dirtysouth, I am a high school referee. Our job is to call the game, not keep it even. There is a lot of stuff that occurs during a game that makes the foul count differ. For instance if one team is pressing a lot they are subject to having more fouls than the other team. Also if a team has the ball more during a game the foul count will also differ, because one team is playing more defense. I could go on with some more but I assume you get the idea. Oh and Cherokee if you think you can do better, why dont you try and go out there and see how you would do.


March 15th, 2010
8:44 pm

When the game is called so loosely that it benefits one team more than another (and evens up the chances), it becomes an additional player.

Refs should be ready to call the game from the tipoff, not sit on their whistles.

I saw both these in the game I watched.

Just saying

March 15th, 2010
9:48 pm

Westlake vs Milton, don’t know the stats but I saw Milton get all the calls and no calls, against them. My second high school game of the year and man, just be fair. Either call everything or nothing at all.


March 15th, 2010
9:52 pm

Bootman agree c100% While Norcross is a good team, their championship will always be tainted by those calls!

Why, Notcross

March 15th, 2010
9:58 pm

Dude, Notcross… you have been on a MISSION to discredit Norcross for almost three weeks now. I can’t tell if it scary or sad. Seriously, how many times has your team lost to the Blue Devils?

Did your favorite HS player spurn you and head to greener pastures off Spalding?

Really, it’s sad.


March 15th, 2010
10:12 pm

Norcross played a great game. They hit most of their freethrows and never got rattled by Redan’s presssure with maybe a few exceptions. There were a few questionable calls against Redan which may have impacted the outcome but I felt that they rushed several shots when they had the nine point lead and should have ran more clock toward the end of the third quarter and could have possibly carried a larger lead into the forth and thus the momentum. I don’t think the technical should have been called on #15 toward the end of the game. She actually turned away from the ref who made the call and another ref called the technical. #23 for Norcross was even more demonstrative earlier in the game and didn’t get called for a technical. All things said, I think Norcross was hungrier and deserved to win. In a series I think Redan would win but in a one game winner-take-all, it was just their night. the tak


March 16th, 2010
12:16 am

GSHA REF, I am not saying keep it even, but just be consistent. They were not consistent on both ends. I dont care who wins, but the ref’s, should not be visible during the game. Let the kids determine who wins the game.


March 16th, 2010
7:41 am

GHSA REF` I would love to big boy…where do I get the info to sign up? I know I can do better. If you watched any of the games I saw you may agree. Unless of course you were one of the officials.


March 16th, 2010
10:06 am

Other than the Milton/Norcross game I believe every team that should have won, did win! There are always going to be questionable calls in a basketball game. A referee has to make split second decisions throughout the game and being human they don’t always get every call right. That being said we know that it’s a thankless job and we are used to the negativity spewed from the fans especially when their team is losing an important game, but do you really think the games would be better without them?

Passionate Ref

March 16th, 2010
10:07 am

Cherokee, you say you can do better? Make sure you are in a summer camp training this summer to officiate. Here is a link to join an association. Find the one closest to you Officiating is not an easy job, no matter what level. We are human and we are going to miss calls, just like players miss shots. We all think we can do better sitting on the sidelines.


March 16th, 2010
12:06 pm

I referee. I ask my boss if I can leave at 4:00 to travel and hour so I get to the game site an hour before the game. Arriving early is the right thing to do. I meet my fellow officials, get dressed and “pregame”, going over rules and situations that may come up. Having a pregame is the right thing to do. I work hard for the next three hours giving it my best effort because that is the right thing to do. I shower after the game and drive home usually arriving home close to midnight. All in all, an eight hour day. After $20 in gas and 8 hours, the $95 I receive for the game is not the motivation for trying to do the right thing. We need more officials. We’re waiting on you!

Wilford Downs Wrightson, III (Former Ref)

March 16th, 2010
12:21 pm

I have officiated both high school and college basketball so I somewhat familiar with the rules. I have also officiated football, baseball and soccer. Basketball is, by far, the hardest sport to officiate. No official is perfect. Almost every decision an official makes has to be done instantaneously. Every decision is a matter of judgement. An official has to make his or her call based upon what they see from their position on the court. A person sitting in the stands will view any play from a different perspective than the official on the floor. That fan’s view might give the impression that the official’s call was incorrect. And their impression may be correct. Or it may not. The official’s call was made based upon his or her perspective. And it was correct from their perspective. Whenever an official blows the whistle, it’s their “opinion” about what took place in front of them. We always try to be correct, but we are not perfect. The only thing we can get perfect every time, is interpreting the rules correctly.

Retired Ref

March 16th, 2010
12:21 pm

As a retired referee I can truly say the officiating in the Championship games was atrocious. I have never seen more one-sided officiating in my career. I have plaques from GHSA for over 25 years of basketball officiating, so I should know a little about it. This Andy Cowart, how does he rate/deserve two Championship games. (One in Gwinnett and one in Macon)? Are there only about 29 qualified referees, in the State of Georgia, to call Championship games. Have heard through the referee rumor mill lthat Mr. Cowart selects the referees for the Championship games. I was under the assumption that Mr. Yarborough did that. Just another example of how Mr. Cowart and Mr. Yarborough have messed up the basketball officiating in Georgia. God help the officiating ranks if Dr. Swearingen retires and by some idiotic election process Mr. Yarborough is elected to take his place. If so, then basketball officiating is gone in Georgia. So many of the officials are fed up with the system as it is, but are afraid to say anything. They are told they must attend these expensive camps by Mr. Yarborough and Mr. Cowart if the want to work Championship games and then when the time comes they use the College experience officials. Shame on GHSA. The worst officiating I have ever seen in the GHSA Cham[ionship games. Some of the women they use are much better than the male officials, but not by much.


March 16th, 2010
4:39 pm

Passionate Ref ..thanks for the info going now to see which is close to me.


March 17th, 2010
10:55 am

The GHSA needs to take a good hard look at all of the Refs that they employ to call these games. This same scenario keeps playing out on fields and courts across the state and they are not “mistakes”. Watch this video for the two calls that decided the fate of Grayson Football having a chance to go to the state Championship this year. If you look hard enough you can even see the Ref standing of front of the Newnan player as he commits a personal foul after a play with no call. During the same possession on the video, TWO fumbles were missed and a personal foul call that would have prevented Newnan from scoring a Field Goal. End result- Grayson loses 9-7 because of the Refs ignorance. WAKE UP GHSA!!! If you are paying these Refs to do a job- FIRE them if they dont do it correctly!


March 17th, 2010
10:19 pm

MC: I would bet my last dime that you’ve never officiated at any organized sport and 99% of the idiots did not vote objectively. What a waste of time your articles are.


March 17th, 2010
10:23 pm

AKITA: I don’t see you out on the court or field and the associations don’t have people standing in line because of people like you. I officiated basketball and soccer for 15+ years and at age 70 could still do a better job than you think you could do. Remember, the refs only have ONE angle on a play and that’s what they call.

mt. dew

March 19th, 2010
3:56 pm

Retired Ref – Please stay retired and polish your plaques.

jesse james

March 21st, 2010
8:24 pm

Mt Dew – You must carry Andy Cowart’s bag for him. I am not a referee, but I want to know how the same guys end up calling the semi-finals and finals? I have seen very good officials not get a chance. When I ask them why they don’t get to call it is because they can’t go to a camp. Well you have to have criteria, but going to call a summer camp is a joke. We have evaluaters come to our gym to evaluate the officials. That should carry a hell of alot more weight than a summer camp. But it is the same officials or the good buddy system that gets in the games.

mt. dew

March 22nd, 2010
12:01 pm

Enter your comments here


March 24th, 2010
2:42 pm

GA officiating is the worst in the country. I’ve been saying this for two years now and it was proven by the Milton v. Norcross game. The refs take banter from coaches personal and dont allow kids to be kids. There’s a difference between calling a clean game and becoming the focus of games. Ive seen the latter much too often. I mean I actually know these guys’ faces!