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California school wins sectional title after getting credit for free throw it didn’t hit

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

From today on out, Riverside (Ca.) JW North High will be known as the Southern Section Division II-AA boys basketball champion. It shouldn’t be. Not that JW North didn’t finish in front on the scoreboard, it just shouldn’t have.

That’s because JW North was given credit for a free throw it never hit in the first quarter. The final score was 59-58, in North’s favor against Villa Park (Ca.) High, but that gave North credit for the free throw that never was. Instead, the game should have headed to overtime.

Yet the dramatic scoring error, which was first uncovered by the Orange County Register, won’t be reversed because it can’t be reversed, as held by California Interscholastic Federation bylaws.

According to the Register, the extra point came during the first quarter, when North’s D.J. Richardson missed both of his free throws, but was credited with connecting on the first free throw.

In a way, Villa Park can only blame itself for the letdown, as the official scorer for the game was provided by Villa Park. The team also didn’t know of the scoring discrepancy itself when it happened, with coach Kevin Reynolds first notified of the errant free throw credit during his postgame press conference.

"I don't have an answer for that," Reynolds told the Register about the error. "We were pretty focused on other things."

As a result of that distraction, North is holding a sectional title -- and an all but certain higher seed in the forthcoming state playoffs -- and Villa Park is holding a grudge.

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