NY coach left frustrated after PSAL fails to catch three-point line error

New York City's Public Schools Athletics League (PSAL) is in hot water once again -- the league was already being questioned for its decision to let New York (N.Y.) Lincoln High add talented sophomore Tighe Oberg to the team's roster just before the playoffs -- after the league failed to check the distance from the three-point line to the basket prior to a "AA" quarterfinals game between Lincoln and New York (N.Y.) Curtis High.

Curtis basketball coach Richie Buckheit — New York Daily News
Curtis basketball coach Richie Buckheit — New York Daily News

As the New York Daily News and the New York State Sports Writers Association reported, both teams were forced to play from the college basketball three-point line (20 feet, 9 inches) instead of the high school measurement of 19 feet, 9 inches. Playing at St. John's University's Carnesecca Arena, players and coaches had assumed the line would be moved for the prep playoff game.

But instead of checking out the court before the playoff tilt, the PSAL left the three-point line as-is; it wasn't until the game was over that the league admitted the mistake. Curtis head coach Richie Buckheit was left visibly frustrated by the PSAL's lack of communication with St. John's officals.

"You shoot your 3s from a certain spot all season," Buckheit told the New York Daily News. "You run your sets from a certain place on the floor, and then for the biggest game of the year it's different?"

As the New York Sports Writers Association noted, even though the PSAL acknowledged the mistake, they were still trying to pin the error on St. John's failure to inform the PSAL of the school's decision to remove the high school three-point line from the court before the start of the season.

Despite promising to fix the error before the semifinals, you have to ask yourself how a league as big as the PSAL failed to send out a single representative to check the court before the game. Additionally, the other question that needs to be answered is why coaches and officials failed to question or measure the court if they thought something was amiss.

"I'd rather have played the game at Lincoln if I had known I was going to be playing using a college 3-point line," Buckheit told the New York Daily News. "I know the 3-point line was the same for both teams, but you had one team that was using it as a weapon to deal with another team's greater size," he added. "It's still a major mistake that was made."

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