BETHANY — Jaden Hobbs is an absolute superstar and just a sophomore, but the brightest Goldbug should have had to win it in overtime.
Instead, with nothing less than Class 3A’s gold ball hanging in the balance, the officials let the worst call in the history of the game play out instead.
OK, maybe not ’72 Olympics bad, but if he was watching from above, Hank Iba had to have said something to himself like, “Yep, been there.”
Alva’s girls beat Washington 63-62 in the last semifinal Friday night at Southern Nazarene University when Hobbs was sent to the free throw line with no time remaining, ruled to have been fouled as she attempted to follow her own flailing miss.
The sports editor of this newspaper had already put his head down to chart Hobbs’ first shot in the sequence and even wondered what the big exhale was all about as the follow rimmed out.
Time had expired.
But at least one official thought otherwise and, seemingly taking his life in his hands, walked over to the scorers table to say, “21, red.”
Worse, nobody was exactly sure how Nevada Denton fouled Hobbs. Maybe the officials aren’t supposed to swallow their whistle at the buzzer, lest the mugging begin, but the group calling the action Friday night, a day before everything moved to the Big House, did not even huddle over the call, nor did it think to ask anybody at the scorer’s table what came first, the whistle or the buzzer.
That same sports editor has only been covering games for 21 years and never seen anything like it.
The injustice capped an amazing Alva comeback. The Goldbugs trailed 32-20 at the half and 57-52 as late as 2:32 remaining.
A day after netting 30 points against Verdigris, Hobbs went for 45 and may well have finished north of 50 if the right thing — overtime — had played out.