On its face, the chuck-the-ball-into-the-rafters technique seems like a foolproof clock-bleeding move.
Your team’s winning, time is about to run out. Just heave that sucker up there. You’re pretty strong. That ball won’t come back down for, like, 12 seconds, right?
Unless you’re the Incredible Hulk or BiiiigTiiiiim Riggins, that ball is coming back to earth toute de suite, so you might as well hold on and try to dribble this thing out.
Granted, I’m relaying this wisdom after watching the bonfire of the vanities that was Burrillville High’s crushing loss to Chariho on Sunday. Facing off in Rhode Island’s D-III high school state championship, the teams battled down to the final moments, with Burrillville hanging on desperately to a one-point lead.
WPRI 12 posted video of the game’s end. As ABC 6’s Ken Bell notes, the contest turned on its head in the final four seconds of regulation. Deflecting an inbounds pass, Burrillville appeared to have the victory in hand until one of their players initiated a would-be clock-killing heave and tossed the ball skyward.
As it would happen, the ball came down directly into the hands of a Chariho player, who attempted to call a timeout. Referees conferred as blue jerseys flooded the court to celebrate. After some confusion, officials agreed that Chariho had stopped clock in time and would have one second left to pull off a miracle.
And—welp—that’s exactly what happened.
Out of the timeout, Chariho’s Jack Beauregard threw a long-distance inbounds pass to teammate Tom Longolucco for a shockingly easy layup basket at the buzzer. Two points. Game over. Hundreds of once-joyous souls reduced to ash in a moment.. Chariho 60, Burrillville 59.
So what did we learn today, guys? Always—always—dribble that stuff out. Also guard the basket. Guarding the basket is good, too.
Dan is on Twitter. He’s a co-founder of the Webber Clinic—an emotional support center for athletes suffering from the fallout of poor clock management.