CRHS defeats Scott on disputed basket

Ron Gregory

March 8, 2014

LOGAN — For the first time in Chapmanville history, the boys basketball team appears poised this week to head to Charleston for the state tournament.

That became apparent Friday night after a controversial victory over Scott in the championship game of Class AA, Region IV, Section 2 in the Willie Akers Arena on the campus of Logan High School.

While emotions were already high for the Corridor G rivalry game, an apparently errant call by a game official caused Scott fans, coaches and players to erupt in disgust as the game concluded. After flashing a tie game of 54-54 for several seconds, the scoreboard was changed to show Chapmanville Regional with 54 points and Scott with 53. It wasn’t as simple as that.

Confusion appeared to reign on the court after a game officially signaled a three-point shot by Scott, only to change it to a deuce.

With CRHS Head Coach Alan Hatcher running out of timeouts with 2:35 left in the game, he and his team were unable to huddle during the closing minutes. This led to a torrid Scott comeback from a seven-point deficit.

A bucket by Kenny Plumley put Chapmanville ahead, 44-37, with 3:06 left. As Scott applied a tighter defense, Hatcher called his next-to-last timeout to go over strategy at the 2:53 mark. Then, when his players could not inbound the ball 18 seconds later, they signaled for the final timeout to prevent losing the ball to Scott.

A free throw by Trey Dalton with 2:06 flashing extended the CRHS lead to 45-37. Then, the dramatic comeback was underway. Logan Webb drilled a three-pointer to cut the margin to five with 1:53 remaining. After a Skyhawk timeout, Chapmanville could not inbound the ball and turned it back over to Scott. But Patrick Underwood walked, giving the ball back to the Tigers.

With 1:44 left, Brady Cox made two free throws to put CRHS up, 47-40. Eight seconds later, Eric May made a layup, leading to Scott calling timeout. May stole the inbound pass but Cody Brown could not convert a bucket for the Hawks. The lead went back to seven with 1:27 remaining as Jason Butcher made two foul shots.

Then, Dylan DeHart made believers of the Scott fans and bench as he swished a trey with 1:11 on the clock to make it 49-45. Kenny Plumley calmly sank two free throws and the Tigers were back up by six with 1:09 left.

A three-pointer by Webb with 1:05 kicked the Scott rally into overdrive to the delight of the large crowd of Hawk supporters. With 49.2 seconds remaining, a free throw by Joe Tackett made it 52-48. After Scott missed, CRHS attempted to run the baseline for an inbound pass, leading to another turnover to the Hawks.

With 25.6 seconds left, May’s three-pointer whipped the Hawk fans into a frenzy and cut the lead to one, 52-51. A flurry of helter-skelter ball followed before Brown fouled Butcher with 22.1 seconds left. His made free throw out of two tries lifted the lead to 54-51 and actually provided the final margin of victory.

It was with just over four seconds left that Webb floated his shot, as the game official lifted his hand to indicate it was a three-point try. When the ball swished, the arena erupted with the players on the floor attempting to scurry back to try to deny CRHS a last-second shot at winning what they believed was a tied game.

The game official, however, had dropped his arm on the made shot, looked at the scorer’s table and signaled that it was a two-pointer.

As the precious last seconds ticked off the clock, the teams both appeared to immediately think an overtime was coming up. But it was also apparent that game officials were huddling on the floor. Finally, they separated and, to the delight of Hatcher and the consternation of Cabell, it was signaled that CRHS had won, 54-53.

While Chapmanville’s boys high schools teams have never been to a state tournament either from the late Chapmanvile High School or CRHS, they will now move on to meet Nicholas County Thursday night at CRHS. The Tigers will be a prohibitive favorite to win that game and go on to the state tournament.

Meanwhile, the loser, Scott, must travel to Poca to take on the state second-ranked Dots on Thursday evening. Poca has recently been defeating opponents by upwards to 40 points. Cabell will now be forced to engineer some game plan to stifle the Dot offense while giving his team a shot at winning. The winner of that game also goes on to the Class AA state tourney at the Charleston Civic Center.

It was a slow, methodical offense for both teams as the game got underway. A large contingent of Tiger fans was also present in the venerable fieldhouse.

Cox got the scoring started with a layup. Scott’s first point came with 7:12 on the clock as Webb made one of two free throw tries. A turnaround bucket by Tackett made it 4-1 and then a jumper by Butcher brought it to 6-1. With 5:13 showing, a putback by May made it 6-3. Finally, at the 2:34 spot, a Brandon Lafauci three pointer put Scott up, 8-6. A floater by Dalton tied it 36 seconds later.

With just 1.8 seconds left in the period, two free throws by May put Scott ahead, 10-8, after one.

A clock problem briefly delayed play early in the second quarter but Dalton’s free throw with 7:16 showing made it 10-9. A layup by Alex Ables followed by two Brown free throws gave Scott a 14-9 lead with 4:58 left in the half.

A jump shot by Butcher and two free throws by Casto brought it to 14-13 with 4:18 remaining. An Anthony Sigmon putback and jumper raised it to 18-13 with 2:45 glowing. Near the two-minute mark, momentum changed when Lafauci missed a driving layup and Brown misfired a putback try. That quickly led to a Butcher three-pointer and a putback by Casto, tying the game at 18-18.

With 1:06 left, CRHS attempted to hold the ball for a final shot and Casto put one back in with 6.3 on the board to give the Tigers their halftime margin of 20-18.

A layup by Plumley started the second half scoring. Lafauci was hammered on a shot try and driven to the floor. Scott players and coaches surrounded him, eventually helping the standout player to the sideline. Underwood shot the two free given to Lafauci and it was 22-20 at the 7:16 mark. A jumper by Plumley brought it to 24-20 with 5:55 flashing. Seventeen seconds later, Ables made one of two free throw tries.

A jump shot by Plumley stretched the margin to 26-21 at the 5:07 spot. Sigmon and Plumley then exchanged buckets.

With 3:44 left in the third, a May three-pointer brought the Scott crowd back into the game and cut the lead to 28-26. Thirty-five seconds later, Sigmon’s jump shot tied it at 28-28. With two minutes shining, May made two free throws to put Scott ahead, 30-28.

Butcher wasted little time responding with a trey but Underwood answered with a trey and Scott led, 33-31. Neither team was in any hurry to shoot as time expired on the two-point Skyhawk margin.

Plumley tied the game at 33-33 with 7:29 remaining. Then, with 6:08 left, Dalton drove home a layup. A technical foul called on Dalton at the 6:06 spot led Hatcher to storm toward officials, only to be held back by his players. When the dust had lifted, the game was again tied.

A long three-pointer by Butcher put CRHS up, 38-37 but Brown answered with a floater. Butcher drilled a deuce with 4:08 showing. After a Scott timeout, Plumley connected on a bucket, leading to the 44-37 margin. Then, when CRHS called its final timeout seconds later, the comeback began.

Game film and still photos taken of Webb’s final shot appear to show his feet beyond the three-point line. There is no question, from film replay, that the official raised his arm signaling that the Scott player was shooting a trey. Only after the bucket was made did he signal “two” to the scorer’s table. The confusion on the court makes it difficult to determine anything other than that both teams thought the game was ending in a tie.

When asked why, if he saw the official signal the basket a “two,” he did not attempt to foul CRHS in the closing four seconds, Cabell said he felt certain that the game ended in a tie. He said there was “so much confusion out there, nobody could communicate.” The Scott coach said he had no reason, as the clock ticked to zero, to believe CRHS was actually ahead

When officials finally told Cabell their decision, he stomped from the center of the court where the huddle was being held. Except for one Scott player who exchanged a hand shake with a Chapmanville counterpart, the SHS coaches and team went directly to the locker room, dismayed by the turn of events.

Now, Cabell and his team must regroup and figure some game plan to try to beat Poca. Most observers think the Hawks are capable of beating the Dots, under the right set of circumstances. Nevertheless, it is a long shot at best.

May led the Scott scoring, with 16 points. Webb added nine; Anthony Sigmon, eight; Brown, six; Underwood, five; and Lafauci, Ables and DeHart, three each for the Skyhawks.

The final sectional game was set up after Scott ran over Wayne in the opener Tuesday evening while CRHS barely got by Mingo Central.