In a closely contested Trans-Valley League varsity boys basketball game at the end of January, host Escalon defeated rival Riverbank by one point, in a 66-65 overtime decision.
But supporters of the Bruin team claim a scoring snafu took a point away from them and gave unearned points to Escalon, indicating that the game should never have gone in to overtime and should have been a victory for Riverbank.
The Riverbank supporters sent out a lengthy email detailing the issue and asked that the CIF get involved; it also was suggested that the game be called a draw.
Escalon Athletic Director Andrew Beam and Escalon High School Principal Jason Furtado provided a rundown of what occurred, based on a review of the game film, as well as some interviews.
The information, said Beam, was also provided to Riverbank School District officials.
“With 4:16 left in the 3rd quarter, the scorekeeper blew the horn to alert the officials that there was a possible error in the score. The officials, the Riverbank assistant head coach, the scorekeeper, and the scorebook keepers from both Riverbank and Escalon conferred. The homebook showed a score of Escalon 35 to Riverbank 28 (scoreboard showed 34-28 in favor of Escalon),” the rundown begins.
“The official asked the homebook scorekeeper the score, and was told the book showed 35-28 in favor of Escalon. The official then asked the away book scorekeeper to check his book. The away book scorekeeper said he had the score 34-25 in favor of Escalon and with Riverbank with 3 points less than both the scoreboard and the homebook had Riverbank at.
“The official then looked over the homebook and decided that Escalon was short one point and told the Assistant Riverbank coach, the scorekeeper, and the head coach of Escalon that one point would be added to Escalon and the score was 35-28. All parties agreed and the game was played from that point on as 35-28.”
The two teams were battling for a crucial Trans-Valley League win, as they look to finish the season strong and get in a good position for the playoffs.
“At no point for the rest of the 3rd quarter, 4th quarter, or overtime was the score brought back up or contested by any party,” Beam and Furtado said in their response to the situation.
And though the Riverbank supporters also referred to an earlier season non-league game where they feel the Bruins were harshly penalized when several players were suspended for leaving the bench, but indicated a ‘similar situation’ involving Escalon players in a different game did not bring suspensions, that was also incorrect. One Escalon player was suspended and CIF officials ruled the other player originally penalized did not warrant a suspension.
Ultimately, Beam and Furtado said, though Riverbank has asked for calling the game a draw, the decision is not Escalon’s to make and reiterated that “all parties agreed on the score of 35-28” in the third quarter.
“As stated in the NFHS handbook, once the officials leave the court, they may not confer. The score is official and the game is over.”