As the second overtime of Tuesday's CCAA West 1 girls high school basketball game between Silver Creek and Dunkirk concluded with a tie score, the officials called over both coaches and informed them the third overtime is sudden death.
Much to the surprise and skepticism of both coaches, neither argued.
"Both coaches challenged that it was not the correct ruling," Silver Creek coach Tammy Rice said. "The referee was insistent that it was the ruling. I didn't want to risk a technical foul."
OBSERVER?Photo by Roger Coda
Silver Creek’s Christina Williams goes up for a shot as Dunkirk’s Maddy Crandall tries to defend Tuesday night during their CCAA?West I girls basketball game at Silver Creek High School. The Black Knights won the game on a sudden-death free throw in the third overtime period.
"They were so convincing about it," Dunkirk coach Sarah Burnett added. "They said the rule had been in place forever."
Turns out, the rule does exist - for modified basketball.
As for varsity rules, the game should have continued with a third, four-minute overtime.
Instead, less than a minute into the third overtime, Silver Creek's Jade Lewis knocked down a free throw to give the Black Knights a 55-54 victory.
Burnett noted due to the fact the contest was a league game with playoff implications, she is looking into protesting the game to see if the third overtime can be played in full.
"I feel bad for him," Rice said of the official. "It's human error. I think he was in a position that he wasn't trying to cause harm. Dunkirk got the jump ball. They had a chance to score. We each had a possession. The way it played out, it wasn't like either team had an advantage. Both teams were playing on the same rules."
The ruling nearly overshadows what had been a remarkable girls high school basketball game.
The Black Knights led 9-6 after the first quarter, but the Lady Marauders went on an 18-5 second-quarter run for a 24-14 halftime lead.
The home team outscored Dunkirk 14-8 in the third quarter and 16-12 in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Silver Creek's Kalee Dexter sent the game into overtime as she drained a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, to tie the score 44-all.
In the first overtime, Dunkirk had the lead late, but Silver Creek's Christina Williams scored in the final seconds to send the game to a second overtime.
"She is quick and drives the lane," Rice said. "She found a pocket and got the rebound and put it back up. It's one of those plays where she came out of nowhere with it and put it back up. I didn't see her and Dunkirk didn't see her. They lost track of her in the lane and she was in perfect position for the putback."
In the second overtime, it looked as if the Lady Marauders were going to escape with the win once again. However, Silver Creek's Kelsey Orr scored with a second left to send the game into a third overtime.
"I think we had many mental lapses," Burnett said. "We made some silly mistakes down the stretch. That has to do with inexperience. We only have three returning varsity players. Most of the girls have never found themselves in a close game or have experienced that type of intensity in a varsity game."
Despite the loss, Burnett was optimistic afterwards
"At the end of the game, I told the girls it is a tough one when you lose like that," Burnett said. "Being the beginning of the season, I think we can take a lot from it and learn from it and use it to fuel our fire. I'm so pleased with them. We lost a great graduating class and they have responded so well. We have 13 girls on the team and all 13 are capable of stepping up. Our best attribute is we do have 13 girls who bring a role to the team. I think one thing we will see is we will find ourselves in a lot of close game this year. The league is pretty even. There won't be any easy games. I'm happy we found ourselves in a situation like this early on. We will experience a lot of games like this."
Silver Creek's Jordan Brooks led all scorers with 25 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and had seven blocked shots. Lewis added 12 points, eight steals and five assists. Dexter had 10 points and eight rebounds for the winners.
For Dunkirk, Sidney Charles had 15 points and Natasha Colon added 10 and three assists. Rachel Rosas had seven rebounds and Jessica Gifford had five rebounds. Charles also had 13 rebounds while playing a stellar game defensively against Brooks. Sarah Hanlon finished with nine rebounds, four assists and six steals.
"It was a great game of basketball," Rice concluded. "That's one of those games, it's tough to see anyone lose. If you win, you're happy, and if you lose, you're OK because your team gave it 100 percent. Someone had to lose."