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