Would replay have helped the Mountain View-Hamilton outcome?
In one of the strangest finishes this ink-stained wretch has ever seen, you can make a plausible case that Hamilton should have beaten Mountain View (or, at least, had extra opportunities to tie the game and force overtime). Instead, a bizarre non-seen, non-call put the Toros girls basketball team into next week’s 5A Division I state semifinals against Chandler.
First a disclaimer: Exhale, and realize that one play doesn’t win or lose a game; Not even trying to make a game-winning shot while playing 6-on-5 for the final six seconds.
Hamilton couldn’t make shots all night (except, to its credit, the final three minutes of the game). The Huskies had all kinds of chances in the first quarter when Mountain View kept turning the ball over. Layups and open shots were repeatedly missed. And, to the Toros credit, they handled Hamilton’s full-court press much better in the second half. The Toros’ backcourt (Rene Coggins, Arnecia Hawkins and Ciarra Guthrie) made more plays.
That said, what happened at the end should never be allowed in a state tournament game. Or, at least, from the semifinals onward.
There should be instant replay available to referees for certain “yes-or-no,” black-and-white situations. If it can’t be done because of the number of games at various sites, then at least once we get down to the final four.
Friday night was a quarterfinal game which means it was one of eight girls games going on in Class 5A, plus at least the possibility of other semifinals or even championships going on elsewhere. That makes it extremely difficult for the AIA to have replay monitors and staff available at every site.
Starting next week for the semifinals and championships, all 5A games are at Jobing.com Arena. The 4A games that conclude this weekend were also all played there. All 2A and 1A games were at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott last weekend.
At one location, it should be more manageable from a cost, management and equipment perspective.
On Friday, Hamilton was agitated at the foul discrepancy in favor of Mountain View, but that’s a futile waste of energy (and is always in the eye of team it feels is being wronged). Deciding whether a player was fouled, traveled or double-dribbled should always be left to the officials.
It’s about calls such as time remaining on the clock, whether a buzzer-beater actually beat the buzzer, whether a player stepped out of bounds, whether a shot was made from behind the arc.
Playing 6-on-5 counts as one of those situations. In this case, the combination of referees and a screen seeing six Mountain View players on the court, which the officials didn’t notice in the game’s final six seconds.
Judgement calls – 90 percent of each game – aren’t going to change or be changed; Nor should they.
Hamilton will send in the tape to the AIA, but the Huskies are figuring they won’t get a response of any kind. If the AIA sees what almost everyone (including Mountain View’s bench) eventually saw, at least an acknowledgement and apology is in order.
Tangibly, there’s nothing that can change what happened Friday night. Mountain View won the game, and the Toros played well enough in the second half that they deserve to move on.
But Hamilton should feel slighted. You can argue either way whether the Huskies “deserved” to win, but they did deserve a fair chance at the end to find out.