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Controversy surrounds end of Marin Catholic girls basketball game at Seaside

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The Marin Catholic Wildcats lead 39-38 over Seaside in a Northern California CIF regional playoff game on Feb. 28, 2019. This is the last time the score was accurately reflected on the Spartans’ scoreboard. (Video still courtesy Marin Catholic)

UPDATED 2:02 p.m. 3/2: A statement from the CIF has been added.

Controversy has emerged surrounding the Marin Catholic girls’ basketball team’s exit from the state CIF tournament.

In the fourth quarter of the No. 12-seeded Wildcats’ Thursday road loss to the No. 4-seeded Seaside, points were awarded to the Spartans that Marin Catholic’s athletic department has disputed, points which led to Seaside’s 51-50 win. Upon examination of film of the game, provided by the school, the Wildcats’ contention seems to be accurate.

Marin Catholic athletic director, Adam Callan, has made the school’s objections known to the CIF, but there is no option to re-play the end of the game, and no way to formally protest the outcome. Marin Catholic’s season is over, at 24-8, and the Spartans’ season continues.

“We have been informed that there is no appeal process and the game stands as is,” Callan said, via e-mail. “The CIF did its due diligence in attending to the matter, but were unable to address it due to there being no appeal process. By will or by error, the Seaside scoreboard and scorebook had the incorrect score and it was not addressed properly by the officials in spite of our protests.”

“After reviewing the information provided to the CIF it was determined that the contest was handled appropriately,”a CIF spokesperson told the Examiner.

In video of the game viewed by the Examiner, Marin Catholic — which upset No. 5-seed Sacred Heart Prep, 61-47, on Feb. 26 — led 39-37 over the Spartans with 4:42 left in regulation, a score reflected in both the home and away teams’ scorebooks. A Seaside player, wearing No. 42 (the Spartans do not have a complete roster available), is fouled, and about to shoot two free throws. She hits the first, cutting the lead to 39-38. She then misses the second, and play begins again.

With 4:31 left on the clock, Wildcats senior guard Miranda Jacobson hits a runner along the right side of the key for two points. On film of the game, the scoreboard is visible, and still shows a 39-38 score for Marin Catholic. It then changes to show 40 points for the home team — Seaside.

The Wildcats’ head coach realizes the error immediately and tells the assistant coach to inform the scorers, because the scoreboard is incorrect, an action visible on the bottom of the tape, and informed by Callan’s account.

The score then changes to 41-40 five seconds later, with Marin Catholic correctly on top, but two points inexplicably given to the host Spartans. With 4:07 to go in regulation (and 60:30 on the film), the ball goes out of bounds. The Marin Catholic coach, her assistant and the school administrator get the attention of the official to say that the score is still not correct. It is visible on the video that the official points to confirm that the score is correct, but never goes to the scoring table to bring the two scoring books together and reconcile the error.

The score is visible on the scoreboard, and changes to 41-39, without any points scored by either team. The correct score is 41-38 in favor of Marin Catholic.

As seen on the video, the Marin Catholic administrator crosses in front of the camera to go to the score table to confer with the visiting and home books to confirm that the scoreboard is inaccurate. Discussion at the desk comes to no conclusion. The official does not come to the table to review the books as is protocol. No buzzer is sounded to alert the referees of a discrepancy.

Both teams score baskets, and 2:20 left on the game clock, and the score (incorrectly) reads 45-43 on the scoreboard. The correct score should be 45-42. After Marin Catholic calls a time out, officials convene on the court, and at 64:09 on the film, confer with the Marin Catholic bench, and go to the scorer’s table to look at both score books.

Callan told the Examiner that the referee verbally conferred with the scoreboard operator and home book to see if the score was accurate. Both, Callan said, affirmed that it was. However, the visiting bookkeeper replied that there was an error. The referee, Callan said, declared the inaccurate home book that matches the inaccurate scoreboard the official score, and play resumes after the Wildcats’ protest.

The final score on the scoreboard reads 51-50 in favor of Seaside, though, by Marin Catholic’s reckoning, the actual score was 50-50. Visual examination of the continuous game film confirms this.

“There is clear video evidence that the scoreboard operator gave two points to Seaside that were not earned,” Callan said. “The adjustment was made shortly after removing one of the points given to Seaside when it should have been two. This is also clearly on the video. The objections by the Marin Catholic bench was immediate and constant, but there was no review of the books until over two minutes of gameplay.
“The scoreboard operator should have buzzed the referees immediately once there was a discrepancy and the two books evaluated by the head referee. This did not occur. Eventually, after the two minutes had gone by, the home book matched the incorrect scoreboard. The referees decided that the home book was the official book and the game continued.”

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