The Student News Site of Manchester Township High School

The Talon

Recent Scores
  • Apr 17 / GolfManchester Township High School - 172, Lacey - 194
  • Apr 15 / BaseballManchester Township High School - 0, Barnegat - 7
  • Apr 15 / Boys TennisManchester Township High School - 1, Lacey - 4
  • Apr 15 / SoftballManchester Township High School - 10, Keyport - 0
  • Apr 15 / LacrosseManchester Township High School - 7, Donovan Catholic - 10
  • Apr 13 / SoftballManchester Township High School - 4, Toms River North - 14
  • Apr 12 / GolfManchester Township High School - 166, Toms River East - 186
  • Apr 11 / LacrosseManchester Township High School - 1, Long Branch - 11
  • Apr 11 / Boys VolleyballManchester Township High School - 2, Donovan Catholic - 0
  • Apr 10 / BaseballManchester Township High School - 1, Point Pleasant Boro - 7

The Talon

The Talon

Camden, Manasquan make National Headlines Over Controversial Ending to Boys Basketball State Semifinal Game

Image via hoopfiends/x video

On Tuesday, March 5, Camden boys basketball would climb back from a 13-point hole in the 4th quarter to top the Shore Conference local Manasquan 46-45 and earn themselves a spot in the Group 2 State Championship game. Camden’s victory, however, would come on what will go down as one of the most controversial calls in all of New Jersey high school sports history.

After storming back to erase a 45-32 deficit at the start of the 4th quarter, Camden trailed 45-44 with 9.6 seconds left in the game. At 9.6 seconds, Manasquan had possession on an inbound but would ultimately turn the ball back over to Camden and commit a foul, giving Camden a chance to take the lead with 5.8 seconds remaining. Camden made the most of their last second chance, sinking both free throws and taking a 46-45 lead.

On the following and final possession, a Manasquan player would push the ball up the court and be forced to take an awkward, off-balance three pointer which they would miss. With roughly a second remaining, Manasquan’s star forward Griffin Linstra would grab the missed three point attempt and put it back up for what seemed to be the game winning shot.

The Manasquan crowd erupted and stormed the court along with their bench, while Camden players stood stunned in defeat, the officials originally ruled the basket to be good. For a minute or so, it seemed as if everyone in the Central Regional gym was in agreement- Manasquan had won 47-46 and would be playing in the Group 2 State Championship for the second year in a row.

Here is where the controversy happens. The refs convene, according to some video sources, Camden coaches can be seen gesturing and yelling to the official that the basket was no good. A few seconds later, the refs overturned their original ruling, giving Camden the victory. The Camden side of the bench and crowd unite in celebration as Manasquan is left stunned.

Videos, pictures and reports of the final seconds of the game caught online traction almost immediately. Prominent social media pages such as Overtime, House of Highlights, Sports Center Next, and Max Preps posted videos and pictures clearly displaying how Linstra got the shot off with at least 0.4 seconds left. By the following morning, March 6, the story would make national headlines, being featured on Fox News, CBS, and the New York Post.

Unsurprisingly, Manasquan filed an appeal on the egregious call to the NJSIAA. Only problem was, according to Article VII, Clause 1 of the NJSIAA bylaws

“Protests based upon an official’s judgement or misinterpretation (misapplication) of the playing rules will not be honored”

The NJSIAA also released an additional statement in response to Manasquan’s appeal,

“Here, all of the events happened within the final second of the game. One of the three officials counted the basket as beating the buzzer. The three officials then met at half-court to confer. A second official saw the ball in the shooter’s hands when the buzzer sounded. The officials then waived off the basket. Later, after being shown video clips, the second official agreed the basket should have counted.

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.

Also, NJSIAA Program Regulations, Section 14 – which governs the use of video – states, ‘No video or audio recording may be used to review or challenge the decision of a sports official.’ In addition, NJSIAA Bylaws, Article VII, Section 1 prohibit protests ‘based upon an official’s judgment or misinterpretation (misapplication) of the playing rules.’ The ruling on the court is, exclusively and by rule, what determines the game winner.

Unlike in college or the pros, there is no instant replay review in high school basketball in New Jersey. 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 Manasquan school district filed an appeal to the New Jersey State Superior Courts, but it was denied. With the decision of the court, the Manasquan basketball team and school board decided it was best to leave it at that and not pursue further attempts to reverse the outcome of the game.

Situations like this, however, do question the validity of the NJSIAA’s rules regarding appeals/protests. While there is no regulated replay and review program like pro sports, and at the end of the day this is only high school sports, the Manasquan-Camden game proves there are exceptions to every rule. So while Manasquan was not able to reverse the result of their own game, they may pave the way for rule changes that could help teams in similar situations in the future.

With Manasquan dropping all appeals, Camden would move on to play Newark Arts in the Group 2 Final, and win dominantly, 69-50. According to an article, players from the Manasquan boys team were seen at Jersey Mike’s Arena smiling and applauding Camden as they were crowned Group 2 Champions.

The class of the Manasquan boys basketball team starts at the top, with head coach Andrew Bilodeau. Instead of attacking the innocent Camden team, Bilodeau praised their talent as basketball players and their treatment of the situation as young men. In an interview with the Shore Sports Network, Bilodeau stated,

“I truly feel bad for the Camden kids, I hope this doesn’t take away from the fantastic season they’ve had. They handled themselves extremely well given the situation. They were great.”

Manchester holds an interesting connection to the whole situation, that being that head coach Bilodeau was the boys basketball head coach here at Manchester for many years. Here at Manchester and everywhere people should look to hold the same virtue that our former head coach and his team displayed in the events following the egregious call that cost them a shot at a state title.


More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sullivan Nolan
Sullivan Nolan, Junior Content Editor
Sullivan Nolan is a second year journalism student and a member of the Class of 2025. Sullivan is a part of the soccer and track teams here at school. Outside of school he enjoys hanging out with friends and cooking.