The finish to Saturday’s Mid America Classic championship game raised a long-debated and hotly contested question.
Do the officials let the players decide the outcome at the end of a game or do they call it just as they would at the very beginning?
Emmalee Rose’s two free throws with 0.2 seconds left on the clock in overtime gave Shawnee Mission Northwest its first Classic title with a 33-31 victory over Olathe East in a game where defense was the rule, not the exception.
Rose had driven the lane in the closing seconds and put up a shot in heavy traffic, with the officials deeming the contact warranted a foul and that it came before the buzzer. After a lengthy delay because of a question whether or not the foul came after the buzzer, Rose calmly knocked down the two free throws.
Of course, the Cougar supporters were elated, the Hawks’ fans were dismayed.
“Absolutely,” Shawnee Mission Northwest coach Tyler Stewart said about the last-second call, which came right in front of his bench so he got an eagle eye look at it. “She got fouled. I don’t know how much time was left on the clock and I don’t have a clue on that, but I know she (Rose) got to the spot she wanted and the girl fouled her.”
“I don’t know what I can say that’s not going to get me in trouble,” Olathe East coach Clint Evans said. “It’s unfortunate a game ends that way. Shawnee Mission Northwest was great. I think the teams were mirror images of each other. Our kids poured their hearts out. I wish the game was decided on the court. There were some calls early that we felt like we didn’t get, there were calls late that they felt like they didn’t get. Teams feel like it’s even. Credit Northwest, they played great.”
Both teams lived up to their defensive reputations.
“Both teams played great defense and never gave a clean look,” Stewart said. “It seemed like every shot was contested.”
Until the ending, the game was a chess match. After a 15-all tie at the half, Northwest shot out to a 23-15 lead midway in the third quarter and it was still 25-20 at the end of the period, though the Cougars didn’t score the last 4 minutes.
They then began the fourth quarter without scoring for another 6:06 as the Hawks came back to lead 29-25 before All-Stater and Drake signee Brenni Rose scored to break a nearly 10-minute drought.
The Hawks still were up 30-27 when Danielle Rehor knocked down a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left. East had a chance to win it in regulation, but Cameron Kincaid couldn’t score.
The 4-minute overtime produced one free throw by each team before the frantic final finish.
Emmalee Rose, who sometimes is in the shadows of her sister, finished with 13 points after her winning free throws. Smooth Sydney Wilson scored 12 for the Hawks, making 5 of 6 shots.
The game, because of the methodical pace, was cleanly played as Northwest had only six turnovers and the Hawks nine. The Hawks actually had the wider edge at the line, making 12 of 16 compared to just 6 of 11 for the winners.