The officials huddled around Thursday at Newman discussing whether Damon Landry’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer counted after it appeared to hit the support pole above the backboard before going in. Both of the benches had completely cleared.
The St. Augustine Purple Knights screamed that it was good. The De La Salle Cavaliers shouted that it wasn’t. After a minute, the huddle broke, the officials raised their arms up to signal and stated: “It’s good."
With that 3, the Purple Knights achieved a 50-48 victory over De La Salle in the Newman Invitational quarterfinals with a thrilling ending and a controversial call.
Landry was collected after the game.
“It feels good,” he said. “I just wanted to give my team a 'W.' After getting the turnover I just wanted to get my team back in the game and get the win.”
St. Augustine coach Mitchell Johnson was more focused on the game as a whole rather than the ending.
“I just love the way my kids fought,” he said. “We had some adversity down the stretch. Credit De La Salle; that’s a very well-coached team there, and I’m just glad we were able to get the win.”
Cavaliers coach Paul Kelly, who was visibly frustrated with the officials throughout the game, was also more focused on the whole of the game rather than the end.
“We didn’t compete nearly hard enough for three quarters,” he said. “We played as hard as we could in the fourth quarter, and that’s not good enough against a good team.”
St Augustine was in control throughout most of the game. It held a 19-13 lead at the end of the first quarter when Ze’ Muse made a buzzer-beating layup.
De La Salle fought back on the efforts of Abiram Frye, closing the deficit to 27-24 at halftime. Frye finished with 17 points.
Things stayed even in the third, with the Purple Knights leading 37-32, before a crazy fourth quarter.
De La Salle fought tooth and nail, with John Kelly stealing the ball and making a layup to tie the game 43-43. On the next possession Kelly was at it again, stealing the ball and giving it to Jalen Ned, who was fouled and made a free throw to give the Cavs their first lead of the night 44-43.
On the next possession, Frye made the steal and made a layup to make the lead three with 1:30 to go. Dante Smith Frye traded buckets to keep the lead at three with a minute to go.
Tyrone Trufant banked in a shot to make it a one-point game with 31 seconds left. On the next Cavaliers possession, the Purple Knights went swiping for the ball and Landry ended up with it, taking the shot from deep at the buzzer. The benches cleared, the officials talked, and in the end St. Augustine won.