It wouldn't be basketball season without a controversial buzzer-beater … or a game-winner which is incorrectly ruled out. Now a major Los Angeles game has given us both.
As first reported by the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Breeze, among other outlets, the featured game of the 2012 Johnnie Cochran Basketball Classic between Los Angeles (Calif.) Price High and Gardena (Calif.) Serra High. With seconds remaining, Price found itself nursing a 49-47 lead trying to defend a final Serra possession.
After a missed shot in the final five seconds, Serra forward Emmanual Ndumanya cleaned up a rebound and put in what would have been a game-tying layup, only to have the two points wiped off.
As video footage later showed, the layup never should have been waved off, and the game should have headed to overtime. As you can see in video from the Times here (or directly above), the ball clearly left Ndumanya's hand before the clock hit 0:00, yet the referees refused to give credit for the bucket.
Of course, the Serra players weren't about to go quietly, with some slapping the court in anger and others simply walking off the field dejectedly with hands on their heads.
While the ending was pretty much unscriptable, Price coach Michael Lynch saying that he and his staff fully expected the battle that ensued.
"Every time we play Serra it's a battle," Lynch told the Times' Eric Sondheimer. "It's just always a war. Usually it's not a blowout on either side. … I told the guys they're going to make a run, and they did."
The question that will endure is whether that run concluded before the clock ran out.