Manasquan continuing fight over controversial buzzer-beater call in semi-final game with Camden

Lauren Glassberg Image
Thursday, March 7, 2024
NJ high school not giving up fight to reverse overturned buzzer-beater
Lauren Glassberg has more on the story.

MANASQUAN, New Jersey (WABC) -- The controversy over a bad ref call at a high school basketball game in New Jersey went to court on Thursday, and despite the refs being wrong, the judge didn't overturn the final score. But the Manasquan School District isn't giving up.

Pretty much everyone agrees that the last-second shot Tuesday night by Manasquan High School beat the buzzer and should have meant a win over Camden and a trip to the finals.

Even the referees who officiated the game admitted their mistake, but the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association isn't reversing their ruling.

That led the Manasquan School District to file a lawsuit Thursday, asking the court to pause the championship game on Saturday.

"The judge ruled that he did not have jurisdiction to do that," attorney Jerry Clark said.

Clark and his firm, Clark Law Firm, took on the case pro-bono. He says since the court can't consider the case, he's now petitioning the Department of Education, which oversees the Athletic Association, to address the issue.

"The governor or the Commissioner of Education would have the power to declare Manasquan the winner of this game and make this thing right," Clark said.

For his part, Governor Phil Murphy didn't think he could intervene.

"It's a crushing way to lose a game," Murphy said.

He says he has to defer to the body that oversees the decisions, but says it's "crushing to those kids."

Meanwhile, Camden is set to play Arts High School from Newark on Saturday.

But in a letter, the superintendent of Newark Schools said he supports delaying the game to allow for a "full and fair decision," adding that the "teams deserve to know that adults who make mistakes can have them corrected."

That's certainly what Manasquan is hoping for.

"We've been putting our heart and soul in to this thing for the last few days, and that's why. Because justice should be done," Clark said.

Depending on what the New Jersey Department of Education decides, attorney Jerry Clark says Manasquan may also take this to the appellate level. All of this is happening as the clock is ticking on Saturday's game.


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