When we said last week this was by far the worst ending you'll ever see to a prep basketball game, that's because the National Association of Christian Athletes national title game hadn't happened yet.
We pick up the game between Upper Marlboro (Md.) Riverdale Baptist School and nationally ranked Thomasville (N.C.) New Hope Christian Academy with 11 seconds remaining. With a trip to the National High School Invitational on the line, unbeaten New Hope (32-0) is leading by two (h/t Bob's Blitz).
That's when all hell breaks loose.
New Hope junior point guard Ciani Byrom hauls in a long inbounds pass beyond the entire Riverdale Baptist defense and seems poised to either dribble out the clock or head to the foul line. Referees whistled the ball dead, however, as the clock operator never started the clock.
The refs took six seconds off the clock and forced New Hope to inbound the ball once again. This time, N.C. State-bound Riverdale Baptist star Chloe Jackson -- who had already scored seven of her team's nine previous points to slash the deficit to two -- picked off the entrance pass, calmly dribbled to the 3-point line and buried a triple to give her Crusaders a 59-58 win (and reportedly steal the NHSI bid).
"It's just amazing, that chain of events that happened that gave us the win," Jackson, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds, told The Washington Post. "As I was looking at the clock when I had the ball, there was five seconds left and we're down by two, and I'm thinking, 'I'm going for the win. Go big or go home.'"
Now, the no-call in Texas still takes the cake among gut-wrenching girls' basketball endings, since New Hope at least still had a chance to seal this game, but fans of the Phoenix can't be too pleased.
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