🏀 The Manasquan boys basketball team thought they upset Camden in a playoff game

🏀 A buzzer-beater shot was disallowed by the refs

🏀 Manasquan's superintendent plans to pursue legal options

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association admits a bad call was made during the Manasquan-Camden playoff game Tuesday night and says the ref's ruling will stand. But Manasquan is hoping a court will help change the game outcome.

With 0.6 seconds left in the game at Central Regional High School in Bayville, Manasquan’s Griffin Linstra fired a buzzer-beater shot that appeared to give the Warriors an upset win. Jubilant fans started to fill the court as the referees gathered in a corner.

"I've been doing this for almost 20 years, I've watched a lot of basketball games, I've gotten to be pretty comfortable with what a buzzer beater looks like. And when it counts when it doesn't count," Matt Manley, who covered the game for the Shore Sports Network, told New Jersey 101.5. "As soon as that ball went in I thought Manasquan won. It was pretty clear that the shot should have counted, was my read on it."

Manley said that he was made aware of the refs talking in the corner and thought that they might put time back on the clock. It's common in high school basketball that if the ball goes through the net, there's still time on the clock, and the coach can call timeout, often they'll put time back on the clock to give the other team a chance.

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Manasquan fans and players celebrate their "win" over Camden 3/5/24
Manasquan fans and players celebrate their "win" over Camden 3/5/24 (Shore Sports Network via YouTube)

Taking back the shot

At that point, a cheer went up from the Camden bench and Manley realized the shot was disallowed, giving Camden the win. It was an unprecedented moment for Manley, especially after seeing a video replay.

"Once I watch the replays it's even more stunning. I've never really seen any decision like it. Refs confer and they get together and talk about the calls they just made sometimes," Manley said. "They got together and decided that the first call was wrong and that they shouldn't have counted it. And then of course, if you see the videos, it's it's pretty obvious they should have counted it."

The NJSIAA feels the same way and issued an apology to both teams for the call.

One of the three refs initially called the shot good, according to the NJSIAA. A second official saw the ball in the shooter’s hands when the buzzer sounded, leading the officials to wave off the basket. Later, after being shown video clips, the second official agreed the basket should have counted.

"NJSIAA understands Manasquan’s frustration regarding the outcome of last night’s game. We never want a contest to end with controversy or confusion," the group said. “That said, the rules are clear — once game officials leave the 'visual confines of the playing court,' the game is concluded, and the score is official. So, while the officiating crews’ reports indicate that a post-game review of footage of the play in question convinced them that the basket should have counted, the results could not then and cannot now be changed."

NJSIAA rules do not allow the use of audio or video to challenge a decision in basketball.  NJSIAA Bylaws, Article VII, Section 1 prohibits protests ‘based upon an official’s judgment or misinterpretation (misapplication) of the playing rules.’ The ruling on the court is exclusively what determines the winner of a game.

"These are the rules of the game that all schools agree to follow, and which have been upheld on appeal. We apologize to the Manasquan team for the error," the NJSIAA said in a statement.

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Superintendent: We won

Manasquan schools Superintendent Frank Kasyan told New Jersey 101.5 that despite losing an appeal to the NJSIAA, the district will explore its options to stop or postpone the next playoff game. One option is to appeal the decision in Superior Court.

"I'm asking the Commissioner of Education to review the facts. As far as I'm concerned, we won. I think Manasquan had a great win last night against the premiere team in the state of New Jersey," Kasyan said. "But what we want to do is celebrate our children. My team and the Manasquan community deserves the fact that we step out and we get to a fair and equitable decision here. So I'm doing everything I can to achieve that."

Camden's next game is scheduled for Saturday against Arts High School of Newark.

Kasyan said he has told several students not to feel bad about the outcome and to feel good about the game they played. He called Camden an "awesome" team but is adament that Manaquan is the rightful winner based on the statement from the NJSIAA and video of the shot.

"From the facts that we have gotten from the statements and from the videos, it seems like the facts are in our favor. So utilize those things to do everything you can to get to a justified conclusion," Kaysan said.

Rules are rules?

Has the superintendent considered accepting the decision as a lesson that life isn't always fair?

"My approach is I want to celebrate our victories. I want to celebrate our student body and let them understand that when things occur that seem that they're not just that there are ways to go about trying to get a justified solution to those things," Kasyan said.

"You go through the process and procedures that have been put forth for you through the rules and regulations to achieve the end that you feel are justified."

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