Game-tying buzzer beater appears to be waved off for time, is actually waved off for basket interference, leading to wild confusion and anger

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

Despite conflicting video evidence to the contrary, a California prep boys basketball playoff official did not back down from his controversial call a day after denying a potential game-tying, buzzer-beating tip-in due to basket interference.

"I stand behind the call," Tim Johnson, the controversial play's trailing official on the three-man crew working Friday night's Southern California Regional Open Division first-round matchup between Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) High and Bullard (Fresno, Calif.) High, told The Fresno Bee the following morning. "I think it confirms it totally."

Based on still shots of both the play and the scoreboard taken from a television broadcast and a student's cell phone video footage, respectively, Bullard's Calvin Young appeared to have legally tipped in the game-tying basket with 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock.

"I thought he went over the rim to get it; I thought it was basket interference," Westchester coach Ed Azzam told the paper after his team's resulting 60-58 victory. "But I have a very biased view. You usually don't get a call like that on the road. You usually don't get that call anywhere because they just don't make it. But I'll take it."

While the ball was above the rim, it appeared to be outside the cylinder, thus negating any potential for offensive goaltending. That's why Bullard coach Tony Amundsen and the Knights faithful were under the impression that the basket was waved off due to time running out, which also seemed like the incorrect call, causing massive confusion.

"The only thing I wish I had done better was tell Tony my call was basket interference," added Johnson, who briefly conferred with Amundsen amid the post-game hysteria. "He was asking about time, and at that point it was getting crazy."

Johnson told The Bee he "made a circle motion with his right hand" to indicate the offensive goaltending call, but video footage also somewhat conflicts that statement.

Amundsen wasn't having any of it. "The ball was off the rim, anyway," he told the paper.

The Bullard coach wished all three referees would have conferred to confirm the call. Johnson claimed that would have been the case if it was a clock issue, but since his call was basket interference that the decision was up to him as the trailing official. He also said one partner was watching the clock and the other agreed with his ruling.

That makes two of them, but the 1,600 Bullard fans in attendance probably disagree.

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