Campbell Hall basketball Coach Joe Jackson hoped Saturday night’s game against longtime nemesis Crossroads would mark a changing of the guard in the Delphic League.
He would have settled for a changing of the referees.
Campbell Hall, which has never beaten Crossroads in boys’ basketball, fell, 73-63, in overtime at Santa Monica High. The Vikings (17-1, 4-1 in league play) repeatedly cried foul over what Jackson believed was shoddy officiating.
It all started to unravel for Campbell Hall in the final moments of regulation. Alex Lopez made two free throws with 18 seconds left to give the Vikings a 57-54 lead, but Crossroads’ Bakir Allen (17 points) made a three-point basket to tie the score with seven seconds left. Campbell Hall called a timeout with four seconds remaining.
On the inbounds play, Taylor Williams fired a lateral pass to Scott Glass at the baseline, and the scoreboard operator appeared to start the clock even though the ball had not entered play. Glass then lobbed a three-quarter-court bomb to Austin McKellar.
McKellar, a junior guard who finished with a game-high 33 points, took two steps, but a referee waved his arms signaling the end of regulation play before a shot was attempted. Jackson immediately pointed out the apparent oversight to officials, who after a protracted and animated discussion with both coaches, put four seconds back on the clock and seemed poised for a replay.
It never took place.
“The umpire said he saw it (the clock start early) but the referee overruled it,” said Jackson, who played the game under protest. “His quote to me was, ‘I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Let’s let the kids decide.’ ”
In short, overtime.
But it didn’t get much better in overtime. McKellar missed his first two shots from the floor and Kahlil Allen (26 points), the son of former NBA star Lucius Allen, scored inside for a 59-57 lead.
The Vikings turned the ball over on their next possession and Austin Croshere scored inside, was fouled, and converted the three-point play for a five-point lead for Crossroads (8-7, 4-0).