DANVERS — A controversial call at the end of regulation may have cost the St. John’s Prep basketball team its season last night in a Division 1 quarterfinal against Andover.
Warriors sophomore guard David Giribaldi drove into the lane as time was winding down and hoisted up a contested layup that fell through the hoop. The basket was originally waved off by the officials, but Andover head coach Dave Fazio pleaded with the crew to talk it over. After a brief meeting the officials ruled it a good hoop, forcing overtime.
Andover then edged the Eagles in the extra frame to win, 62-59.
The Warriors will play Merrimack Valley Conference foe Central Catholic in the semifinals (time and place TBA).
The difficulty the officials faced with the final play of regulation was that Andover was shooting at the end of the gym that does not have a scoreboard. The jam-packed gym was also extremely loud, making it hard to hear the buzzer sound.
“It was definitely late, but they didn’t hear (the horn), I guess,” St. John’s (19-3) coach Sean Connolly said. “I guess they didn’t want to call it.”
One official immediately waved off the hoop, but an animated Fazio quickly approached the three-man crew on the court, begging for an explanation. After separating from Fazio, the officials decided to overturn the original ruling.
“I saw the ball go in the basket. That was it,” Fazio said. “If they took that away from our kids I think I’d still be laying on the court right now. They would have had to put me in handcuffs.”
Andover seemingly had the St. John’s Prep offense in handcuffs all night, especially in overtime.
St. John’s only had one field goal in the extra four minutes, and that came when junior guard Max Burt made a steal and converted the layup to the give the hosts a 58-57 lead with 56 seconds left.