Manasquan seeking legal interference after NJSIAA Group 2 semifinal game gaffe

A New Jersey high school’s board of education is seeking legal interference to halt the New Jersey State Interscholastic Atheltic Association (NJSIAA) Group 2 championship game in the aftermath of an apparent error at the end of the semifinal game last weekend.

The Manasquan Board of Education cited overwhelming video evidence that shows a Manasquan player scoring the game-winning basket before time expired.

njsiaaReferees for the game ruled the shot came after the final buzzer as Camden High School won, 46-45.

A recent story from the Asbury Park Press detailed the fallout from the end of the game and the response from the NJSIAA.

Below is an excerpt from the Asbury Park Press story.

It’s the latest twist in a time-sensitive drama that began with Tuesday’s dramatic finish at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township. After Camden took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws with 5.8 seconds to play, Manasquan got a basket by Linstra just before the clock expired, with game officials initially indicating the basket was good, setting off an on-court celebration. But the call was reversed moments later after the three game officials huddled, with the basket disallowed and Camden declared the winner.

The NJSIAA, which governs high school sports in the state, immediately denied an appeal Manasquan filed with it after the game, with the NJSIAA issuing a statement early Wednesday afternoon admitting the game officials were in error and apologized for the mistake, but indicated it would take no action to rectify it.

Video from a live stream of the game, as well as many fans who were recording the final moments, clearly show Linstra got the shot off in time.

The Manasquan School District then released a statement that read:

“We appreciate the NJSIAA’s transparency in admitting the error in the calling of last night’s Group 2 Semifinal Boys Basketball game and appreciate their apology. It is indeed “frustrating,” however, that the NJSIAA refuses to exercise its discretion to remedy a situation that was so obvious and well-documented.

“In our unwavering support of our players, coaches and families, the District will continue to pursue any available appeals we can to vindicate the values of fair play and integrity that should the hallmarks of interscholastic athletics.”

The move comes in the wake of the NJSIAA ruling, and subsequent statement in which it admits the game officials made a mistake, but declined to rectify it.

The NJSIAA statement read: “NJSIAA understands Manasquan’s frustration regarding the outcome of last night’s game.  We never want a contest to end with controversy or confusion.

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“Here, all of the events happened within the final second of the game. One of the three officials counted the basket as beating the buzzer. The three officials then met at half-court to confer. A second official saw the ball in the shooter’s hands when the buzzer sounded. The officials then waived off the basket. Later, after being shown video clips, the second official agreed the basket should have counted.

“That said, the rules are clear — once game officials leave the “visual confines of the playing court,” the game is concluded, and the score is official. So, while the officiating crews’ reports indicate that a post-game review of footage of the play in question convinced them that the basket should have counted, the results could not then and cannot now be changed.

To read the full story from Asbury Park Press, click here.