ALBANY -- Jade' Smith made two free throws with 0.2 seconds left to lift the St. Joseph Notre Dame boys basketball team to a 49-48 win over Branson-Ross in a controversial finish at Albany High School.
Smith was fouled by John Broderick as he was trying to get off a shot at the buzzer. Smith went down in pain but it turned out to be a cramp in his left leg.
The clock originally expired. Then, the officials huddled for nearly a minute, including the fourth official who sits at the scorer's table. Two-tenths of a second was put back on the clock. After Smith made his two shots, Branson inbounded the ball but didn't have enough time to get off a shot.
"I'm just pretty excited right now," Smith said. "I don't know what I'm thinking right now."
He added that they were "just regular free throws."
Naturally, the Bulls (25-6) didn't agree with the final call. Initially, they were celebrating on the court before they realized that a foul had been called.
"I did not see a foul," Branson coach Bret Tovani said. "I heard the horn before I heard anything else. That's all I heard. It's the other end of the court. It's hard for me to see anything at that point. But I didn't see a foul. I saw a missed shot, I saw a scramble down there, the horn."
It was a tough end to a terrific high school game. St. Joseph (27-5) led most of the way, building a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. But the Bulls fought back, going ahead when Henry Feinberg buried a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left. Pilots coach Don Lippi then used a timeout to set up the final sequence.
Marcus Harris got a 3-pointer off from the right corner and the rebound came back along the right baseline. There, Smith grabbed it and in traffic tried to get a desperation shot off. Contact ensued.
Broderick led all scorers with 18 points, including 13 in the second half to help Branson rally. Temidayo Yussuf had 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists to lead St. Joseph. Lost in the controversy of the ending was a fantastic assist by Yussuf to end the third quarter.
With the clock about to run out, Yussuf drove the lane. Suddenly, he caught sight of Harris open in the corner and instead of finishing his drive, he passed to his teammate. Harris nailed the 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pilots a 43-36 lead.