Did it go in or not? King basket disputed

Did it go in or not? King basket disputed

The Orange County Register
Steve Fryer's high school sports column.

The late, great Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn used to say, "counts if it goes " if a player was fouled in the act of shooting.

Perhaps a Mater Dei shot counted when it did not go Friday night in the CIF State Championships boys basketball DivisionII final.

Mater Dei and Archbishop Mitty were tied, 25-25, in the second quarter at Arco Arena in Sacramento when Mater Dei's Taylor King drove to the basket. King was fouled in the act of shooting, the officials counted the basket, the two points were awarded to Mater Dei in the official scorebook and on the scoreboard, and King went to the free-throw line where he completed a three-point play that gave the Monarchs a 28-25 lead.

But did King's field-goal attempt actually go in?

According to San Jose Mercury News sportswriter David Kiefer, who covered the game: "With the score tied 25-25 and 2:36 left in the second quarter, Mater Dei's Taylor King knocked over Mitty guard Kevin Toth on a drive and threw up a shot that rolled off the back of the rim."

Carlos Arias of the Register, who covered the game (yours truly was on the East Coast accompanying his son on a football recruiting trip), said he had, in his words, "a horrible angle" to view that end of the court and could not be sure if King's shot went in.

"I didn't think it went in," Arias said. "But suddenly Taylor King is at the line shooting one free throw."

Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said he did not notice if the King's shot was good or not.

"I was looking to see if it was a block or a charge," McKnight said.

And, as Arias said, "nobody raised a stink" about the two points added to Mater Dei's total on the scoreboard. And that "nobody" included the Mitty coaching staff, Mitty players on the bench, Mitty's athletic administrators in attendance, the three officials on the floor, the official scorekeeper, the Mitty scorekeeper and the alternate official at the scorer's table.

Nobody asked Mitty coach Brian Eagleson at the postgame news conference about the play. Kiefer said he saw for certain that King's shot did not go in. But with all the pandemonium that ensued afterward from Mitty coaches and supporters loudly and demonstratively protesting the blocking call, the addition of King's two points faded into the background of the moment and became a forgotten topic.

An e-mail sent to the Register provided the same allegation, that the ball did not go in.

Personally, folks, I will have to see for myself. Hopefully, we will have a look at that play by Friday.

CIF State spokesperson Emmy Zack said Tuesday that the CIF State office has not viewed a tape or disc of the game, but planned to do so.

"We do know," Zack said, "that if an error occurred, that it could be a correctable action. But that time frame has expired."

That time frame existed until the second live ball of the game, according to National Federation rules. A second live ball is the second time the ball is put into play following a disputed event. That second-live-ball-in-play happened later in the second quarter.

Dean Crowley, the CIF State championship event coordinator, was at the game. He said he did not know if King's shot went in. Crowley, former CIF-Southern Section commissioner, said Eagleson "went wild when charging wasn't called."

"He went all the way out to midcourt," Crowley said, "and they finally 'tech'd' him. What the officials are supposed to do there is do everything in order of occurrence. But they did the technical foul shots first, and that created a lot of confusion. I thought they finally got it right once they got the alternate official involved.

"But I was sitting at the table there right next to the Archbishop Mitty scorekeeper, and she didn't raise a peep about the score and neither did anyone else on their side."

King's basket turned out to be significant. The game went into overtime, in which King and teammate Kamyron Brown made a bunch of free throws to lead the Monarchs to a 69-64 victory.

"Counts if it goes ?" Well, maybe. Hearn's broadcasting partners never dared to disagree with him. I'm not going to, either.

Contact the writer: 714-796-2245 or

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