Less than a second away from reaching the national tournament, the Baton Rouge Community College women’s basketball team had it all unravel Saturday night.
Leslie Robinson made a pair of free throws with 0.5 seconds left to lift Itawamba Community College to a 58-57 victory in the Region 23 tournament championship game in Clinton, Miss.
BRCC coach Paula Lee said her team, which was leading 57-56, missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Itawamba got the rebound.
Itawamba pushed the ball up the sideline, and Robinson was granted a pair of free throws after a blocking foul was called.
She made both, Itawamba scored a spot in the NJCAA tournament and BRCC’s season ended at 22-9.
“I think at that point in time, you have to let the kids decide the game,” Lee said. “Even the men’s coaches (from Northwest Mississippi and East Mississippi) who were waiting for the next game couldn’t believe they had the audacity to make the call with 0.5 seconds left on the clock.”
Still, Lee said the officials shouldn’t have had an opportunity to have a hand in the outcome. Her squad ended up 13-of-21 from the free throw line.
“That’s inexcusable,” she said.
Ashley Williams had 13 points, and Talaih Robertson added 12 for BRCC, which was the Miss-Lou Junior Athletic Conference champion.
“The sophomore class, they’ve been through the wars,” Lee said. “They stuck with it. They fought their butts off. ...
“It’s bittersweet to go out that way. I’d rather lose by 20 than have an official blow that whistle and make the call that cost us the game.”