Stepinac slips past LuHi in controversial Federation semifinal (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 1.39.32 AMStepinac found ways throughout postseason to beat the premier teams in the state. On Friday, the Crusaders got through in the Federation tournament thanks to a little bit of luck.

Long Island Lutheran essentially handed Stepinac a controversial 76-72 win in the Class AA Federation Tournament of Champions at the Glens Falls Civic Center. LuHi received a technical foul with 8.3 seconds left when it called a timeout when it had none remaining — resulting in four Stepinac free throws to win the game.

R.J. Davis scored 27 points, connecting on 14 of 14 from the free-throw line, while Alan Griffin added 18 points. Griffin was 8 for 8 from the line as the Crusaders went 25 of 26 the stripe. LuHi was 13 for 21 as a team.

The victory landed Stepinac (26-5) in the Federation championship game on Saturday against PSAL champion South Shore at 8 p.m. South Shore rocked NYSPHSAA champion Liverpool in the semis on Friday night.

Meanwhile, LuHi won’t exist the tournament without a fight. Crusaders coach John Buck said he intends to file a protest after reviewing film late Friday night and insisting he still had a timeout remaining.”

“Our book had me having a timeout left and my four assistant coaches said the same thing,” Long Island Luther coach John Buck said after the game.

Buck tweeted late Friday night about the situation:

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 1.39.12 AMIt’s unlikely a petition or protest will be heard, especially considering the fact the Federation tournament is constructed by four separate state organizations: NYSPHSAA, CHSAA, PSAL and NYSAIS. Odds are a procedure for review does not exist.

Stepinac is now a win away from capturing its first Federation title in school history. To beat South Shore, the Crusaders will need a balanced effort similar to Friday. Freshman Adrian Griffin scored 14 points and Eduard Minaya, who has not played all postseason because of injury, scored nine points on three 3-pointers.

LuHi trailed by 10 at the half  before charging back late in the fourth quarter. Stepinac consistently held LuHi off before they took the lead in the final minute. Donatas Kupsas drilled a corner 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to put the Crusaders ahead 72-70.

On the ensuing inbound, LuHi committed a careless reach-in foul at halfcourt. R.J. Davis followed by making a pair of game-tying free throws with 8.3 seconds to go. That’s when Buck called timeout.

The scorers’ table and official scorebook immediately signaled that LuHi was out of timeouts. After the referees conferred, they awarded Buck a technical foul for calling tineout when his team had none remaining,

Griffin made both free throws to put Stepinac haead 72-70. After Stepinac was fouled on the ensuing inbound, Davis followed with two more free throws to seal the win.

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3 replies »

  1. We actually sat right behind the Luhi bench and when the head coach signaled timeout one of there eight assistant coaches immediately jumped up before tech was called and was advising his head coach they didn’t have timeouts.

    Could have been a book error but they needed to communicate that when they were told how many timeouts they had.

    Stepinac immediately knew what they had timeout wise whether it was correct or not. But again it is what the official book said at that point that matters.

    Tough Call, Tough Ending but based on what the book said the right call was made.

    The officiating had suspect calls both ways but officials were professional, talked through multiple scenarios and seemed to follow the letter of the law.

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