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New Jersey school district exploring legal action after controversial basketball game decision: report

SportsNew Jersey school district exploring legal action after controversial basketball game decision: report


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Legal action is being explored by the school district that didn’t win its appeal of a decision made by officials in a controversial New Jersey high school boys basketball game, per the Asbury Park Press.

Manasquan school district Superintendent Dr. Frank Kasyan says he’s hoping to get an injunction to stop games moving forward after Manasquan High School’s buzzer-beater against Camden High School was waved off by officials on Tuesday night. 

The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association made a statement on Wednesday admitting officials got the call wrong after further review. However, Manasquan’s appeal was denied as rules state the game is in the books.

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A picture of a basketball hoop

A basketball game between two New Jersey high schools was under fire. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“I don’t know what can happen, that is why I turned it over to Michael Gross, our school board attorney,” Kasyan told the Asbury Park Press. “I would like to see him get an injunction from the court to stop the games until our protest is heard, because a lot of time what happens is you’ll protest, it drags on, and then it becomes a moot point. So the game is Saturday. This has to happen quickly, and he’s on it.

“I just want to see a just and ethical decision being made by the NJSIAA, and that is what those officials are there for. This is something different. There is physical evidence that shows the game wasn’t over, and the ball went through, so there you have it.”

The play in question revolves around what happened after Camden’s Alijah Curry hit a free throw that put his team up one point with 5.8 seconds left. Manasquan needed to go the length of the floor to score a game-winner to move on to the state final.

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Rey Weinseimer of Manasquan heaved a three-pointer, which was heavily contested, and it hit off the right side of the rim. But his teammate Griffin Linstra appeared to tip the ball back off the glass and into the hoop before the buzzer sounded. 

Manasquan fans stormed the court in celebration, but after referees conferred, the basket was called off, giving Camden the victory. 

While the NJSIAA has yet to comment on Kasyan’s remarks, it did release a lengthy statement explaining why it wasn’t going to overturn the result of the game despite the video evidence. 

“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.

A referee and a basketball

NJSIAA officials admit the refs made a mistake. (Lance King/Getty Images)

“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.”

The NJSIAA also pointed to its regulations, including “no video or audio recording may be used to review of challenge the decision of a sports official.” Instant replay is not used in New Jersey high school games. 

Manasquan school district released a statement after reading what the NJSIAA had to say. 

“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 read. “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 be the hallmarks of interscholastic athletics.”

While the NJSIAA says that games may not be reversed after officials leave the playing grounds, The Asbury Park Press pointed to moments like last year’s baseball tournament, where Ridge was disqualified by the NJSIAA two days after a pitch-count violation occurred in a win over Westfield. 

A referee with a basketball

Camden High School advanced to the championship. (James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“I am not contesting the officials’ decision, I am looking at the decision of the game,” Kasyan said. “We won that game, so again, it’s up to the New Jersey State Athletic Association to decide the right thing here.”

Camden High School is set to play Arts High School on Saturday in the NJSIAA Group 2 final at Rutgers University. 

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