Seconds after the final buzzer had sounded for yesterday's Class 4A state semifinal between Western and Oxon Hill at UMBC, Doves coach Breezy Bishop experienced a wide range of emotions.
First elation. Then rage. Then confusion. And finally, elation again.
Chanel Wright scored 27 points, as the top-ranked Doves (25-0) escaped with a 50-49 victory after a flurry of action in the game's final six seconds and a few moments of confusion afterward.
Western will meet Old Mill, a 56-39 winner over Springbrook, in a much-anticipated game between the area's Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the championship game tomorrow at 3 at UMBC.
But at the conclusions of yesterday's game, Bishop -- and everyone else in attendance -- was unsure whether Western had won or if the game was going into overtime.
The scoreboard showed a 50-50 tie with six seconds remaining. Western's Tesha Tinsley then got open from about 15 feet and hit a jumper as the final buzzer sounded.
Officials waved their arms, appearing to signal that the shot was after the buzzer.
Oxon Hill celebrated. Western protested.
After a brief conference between the referees and the officials at the scorer's table, another celebration erupted.
Only this time, it was the Western players and fans who were overjoyed. But it took a minute before they understood why.
The officials ruled Tinsley's basket good -- appearing to give the Doves a 52-50 win.
But confusion remained, and it centered on a basket by Oxon Hill's Jill Eckenrode (15 points) with six seconds left.
Oxon Hill (18-5) was trailing, 50-47, when Eckenrode went for the game-tying three-pointer. The public address announcer called the shot a three-pointer, and the scoreboard reflected his call.
But it appeared that her foot was on the line, and the referee held up two fingers when the shot was made. The consultation at the scoring table after the game resulted in a change in the score to reflect that call.
Everyone, it seemed, -- excluding the referees, who were jTC unavailable for comment -- had an opinion on Eckenrode's shot.
"I don't know exactly what happened, but I thought both refs said it was a three," Eckenrode said. "I looked at the scoreboard -- tie ballgame. Then about eight seconds later, someone tells me no, it was a two.
"When you play your heart out and you give it your all, it just doesn't feel right to have someone take it away from you."
Said Oxon Hill coach Deborah Anderson: "Jill Eckenrode is an intelligent player. She knows where the three-point line is. She faked up, knew she was on the line and stepped back, then put it back up."
"Chanel was on [Eckenrode], and Chanel was inside the top of the key," Bishop said. "[Eckenrode] took a step inside the line when she took that shot."
Wright had made the key defensive play of the game in the final 20 seconds. She stripped the ball from Oxon Hill point guard Lawanda Lumpkin and converted the layup to give the Doves a 50-47 lead.
Western, a heavy favorite, had trailed the Clippers most of the game, including 31-22 at the half.
After taking a 10-8 lead late in the first quarter, the Doves did not regain the lead until Kimberly Smith's three-pointer with 4:04 left put Western ahead, 44-43. It was the only basket for Smith, Western's second-leading scorer who sat out much of the game with a foot injury.