Great Shot, But It Didn’t Matter

Officiating must have been much easier in the days before everybody and their dog had a video camera. Now, however, every call and every play is open to scrutiny and carries the potential to be a SportsCenter highlight. Example: Union’s state semifinal game Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

First of all, Jordan Chatman made a full-court shot at the final buzzer. And I mean full court, or at least as close to full court as I’ve ever seen. Chatman rebounded a missed free throw on the side of the lane and heaved it down the court into the basket at the other end. After seeing the video, I would estimate he was 8 feet from the baseline before making it in the other basket.

The Union film crew had video of Chatman letting the shot go, but didn’t follow the ball to the other end. If anybody has the video, contact us at It’s a made-for-ESPN moment . . . but contact The Columbian first.

Second of all, video showed that a previous shot by Chatman should have been counted as a 3-pointer. With a couple seconds to play and Union getting desperate, Chatman banked in a shot from the top of the key.

Initially, the scoreboard counted it as a 3-pointer; officials ruled it was a 2-pointer. That cut Central Valley’s lead to 52-48, instead of 52-49. Video showed that the shot should have counted as a 3. Considering that Chatman later threw in a shot from Western Siberia, that could have made a difference.

But, realistically, it didn’t. If Central Valley leads by 3 instead of 4 with only seconds to play, it completely alters the end-game scenario.

Maybe the Bears work a little harder to avoid being fouled. Maybe they make their free throws, instead of missing two in a row. Maybe they have rebounders on the lane for the free throws. Maybe they put pressure on the rebound, just to slow Union. . . .

Everything would have been different. So, while Union fans might think they should have been down by 3 and Chatman’s shot would have tied it, the reality is that we’ll never know. We’ll never know how the teams would have reacted under that scenario, and we’ll never know how Central Valley would have defended it. Because, in the grand scheme of things, Chatman’s amazing shot didn’t matter.

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