As the trio of referees quickly exited the court, Celina High School girls basketball coach Jordan Davis ran after them, incredulous and yelling, “Are you kidding me?”
Videos of her squad’s unexplained loss in the Texas 3A Girls’ Region II Final appear to support Davis’ pointed reaction. Indeed one 30-plus-year veteran Texas basketball official called it “the worst ending to a basketball game I’ve ever seen in my many years of officiating.”
Celina trailed Argyle 51-50 with 4.8 seconds left in double-overtime, reported WFAA-TV in Dallas. Videos show Celina’s Kynese Davis driving down the court, tossing up a desperation shot behind the three-point line, and one referee blowing his whistle and holding up an arm, indicating a foul.
And less than a second remained on the clock.
Argyle players drop their heads, knowing Davis was about to go the foul line and possibly give Celina the lead.
But just moments later the referees jog off the court together accompanied by one final whistle indicating the game was over.
“Somebody was like, ‘It’s over, it’s over!'” Kynese Davis told WFAA. “I was like, ‘What?’ And I was just shocked.”
Celina principal Bill Hemby had tournament officials ask the refs to return to the floor and offer an explanation. They didn’t. And they had no comment.
“There were a lot of upset fans,” Hemby told WFAA regarding Saturday’s game. “No clarity whatsoever to what took place.”
“To walk into that locker room and not be able to give them an explanation of what happened and some type of closure,” Celina coach Davis told WFAA. “That’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”
So no triumphant trip to Austin for the state championship for the Celina Ladycats…but they did protest to the University Interscholastic League.
The UIL’s response? “Once the game is over, UIL rules do not allow any type of protest based on an official’s judgment or decision.”
For Celina’s part, it’s about time the UIL makes changes, including making sure refs explaining decisions before leaving the playing area.
“Just prevent this from happening to anybody’s baby’s again,” Hemby told WFAA. “Period. End of sentence.”