On Jan. 16, I was inside the John A. Baratto Athletic Center watching a great game between the host E.C. Central Cardinals and Hammond. There was an official's call at the end of the game, when E.C.'s Louis Williams was blocked by Hammond's Manny Anderson.
There was debate about whether it was a foul at all and also whether the foul happened after the buzzer sounded.
A couple of Hammond fans came down to the officials' table and asked that they look at the game video. I kind of chuckled. Really?
Then, later, after I saw a video by The Times' John Watkins which showed it was a clean block, I wondered if video replay would ever be a part of high school athletics.
Williams hit his free throw to give E.C. a 75-74 win in OT.
The IHSAA bylaw 9-5 and 16-2 says the following about appealing the decision of an official of the state association. "Neither a judgment call nor misapplication of a game rule by an official may be protested or appealed."
But this hard-and-fast rule was changed in 2001 when Franklin diver Anesa Beard was disqualified from the sectional when she removed an elastic band from her hair and put it on her wrist before her first dive at sectionals.
IHSAA official Robert Kelsik ruled that the band on the state's No. 2-ranked diver went against the state's policy of wearing jewelry during competition and disqualified Beard on the spot.
I covered this story when working at the Indianapolis Star and the IHSAA stuck to its guns until the heat in the kitchen got too hot. They eventually allowed Beard, who missed competing at the regional after her appeal was denied, to have her own trial the day before state, which her scores qualified her for the state finals.
The very controversial call at the end of Friday's Valparaiso and Merrillville game makes most want to see change in a better direction, just like the NBA, MLB and NFL, along with college athletics, where iffy calls can be looked at by officials to make sure they get it right.
Valpo's Nate Aerts banked in a 3-pointer in overtime at Merrillville for the 57-54 win. A video, again from The Times' Watkins, clearly showed that the buzzer sounded before the ball left his hand.
Merrillville coach T.J. Lux was rightfully irate after seeing the video.
"I don't think it's a matter of opinion," Lux said. "It was definitely late. Everybody knows it was late. That's part of the game. There's stuff happening we can't control. For the game to end like that, the kids didn't get to decide it."
Let's hope video can be used in the future on calls that can and do decide games. This call cost Merrillville the undisputed lead in the Duneland Athletic Conference race.
Andrean's Jones on his way back
The steps of the Andrean 59ers were slow and frustrated as they walked into the visitors locker room on Thursday night at Griffith.
A tough 58-50 loss to the Panthers gave Andrean its third loss in four games.
Senior guard Curtis Jones' steps were slow, too, but there was a hopeful rhythm as he walked into the locker room. He wore a boot protecting his sore ankle.
"I'll be back next week," Jones said. "It's getting better every day."
Jones, a Times Preseason All-Area member, didn't play in the 59ers three losses. He hurt his ankle at Lafayette Central Catholic on Jan. 13. Once he left the floor, his team's lead went out the window.
The 6-foot-2 point guard is averaging 11 points a game with 2.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds. But some things can't be measured on a stat sheet.
"We miss having him out there," Andrean coach Brad Stangel said. "We hope he gets back but we have to be careful. We have to make sure he's 100 percent healthy."
Andrean is at E.C. Central on Tuesday and hosts Lowell on Thursday.
Another tale from the M*A*S*H unit
River Forest's Ryan Lafollette was walking around school Wednesday after the Ingots lost to Roosevelt 84-58. The 6-foot-2 scorer hasn't played all season as he's been dealing with a knee injury.
River Forest, which started the season 8-3, has lost four straight heading into Saturday night's game at Chesterton.
"There's a chance I'll be back," Lafollette said. "I think I will. Right before sectionals I could be released."
Here's hoping some good health and speedy recovery comes to both Jones and Lafollette. Hope to see you guys on the floor real soon.
Finally, a close win
Hanover Central coach Bryon Clouse saw his team open the season with a school-record 9-0 mark. Then the ball started to bounce in the other direction.
On Jan. 5 a last-second shot rolled around the rim twice before bouncing out in a 55-54 loss to Bishop Noll. And last Saturday at Lake Station, the Eagles' Sean Gooch tipped in a rebound as the buzzer sounded for a 70-68 win.
Well, finally, the ball bounced back in the other direction on Friday night at Morgan Township. Kole Popko banked in a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and the Wildcats won 88-86 in overtime.
Steve Hanlon and Jim Peters talk about some big developments for the Region's Class 1A schools (1:30), Munster's recent hot steak (9:52), the …
Dominic Lucido led Hanover with 28 points, Dillon Koontz had 16 and Popko finished with 15, none bigger than the banker from the top of the key just before the horn.
"What makes it even better is that the last game was a buzzer beater the wrong way and we bank in a three to force OT," Clouse said. "This is a great life lesson. One day you can be down, but if you keep working hard things are eventually going to go your way."
Clouse said his team, which is now 13-3, played two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior for most of the fourth quarter and overtime, and the Wildcats' junior varsity is 14-2.
"If we keep working the future looks pretty good," Clouse said.
One area of work the 'Cats could improve would be defense, the team's Achilles' heel at times this season.
Morgan Twp.'s Cody Maxwell and Trevor Braden each scored 31 in the game.
Oh, what a week
DeAndre Gholston might be peeking at the right time. The Kent State-bound wing at 21st Century is putting up numbers like a mathematician in Nikes.
In a 99-64 win over Indianapolis Home School, Gholston scored 26 with nine rebounds and five steals. In a 69-54 win at Kouts, he had 24 points and 17 rebounds. And in an 82-77 loss to Lighthouse, Gholston had 37 points with 12 rebounds.
Mr. Gholston, you are Saturday Morning Scorer's Table Player of the Week.