GAITHER

Jefferson's Deshona Gaither goes up for a layup in the Dragons' 61-60 loss at Carver-Columbus Tuesday (March 2) in the state quarterfinals. Jefferson coaches contend that a scorekeeping error gave Carver-Columbus an extra point in a game decided by a single point. 

Jefferson lost a one-point game on the road at Carver-Columbus Tuesday, March 2, in the Class AAAA girls’ state basketball quarterfinals, but coaches and school officials contend that a second-quarter scorekeeping error gave the Tigers an additional point in the Dragons’ 61-60 loss.

According to Jefferson athletic director Bill Navas, the school lost its appeal since the official book was already approved.

“It was not brought to the attention of Coach (Greg) Brown until the game was over,” Navas said in an email when asked about the situation. “Unfortunately, per NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) rules, the game is considered final once the score of the official book is approved and the officials leave the floor. We have no recourse.”

Brown said the discrepancy “definitely happened in the second quarter.”

The coach said the team has video evidence that the score was incorrect. Coaches reviewed the video and counted each point, determining that the tally reflected in the final score was one point off.

Brown, however, said it’s difficult to determine at what exact point during the second quarter the error occurred on the scoreboard due to the camera angles at certain points in the footage.

Brown pointed to one of two possibilities. Carver-Columbus was either mistakenly credited with an extra point after the Tigers’ Kionna Gaines sank two free throws at the 5:02 mark or was awarded four points on a 3-point basket at around the same time during the quarter.

“We’re not really sure if it happened on the free-throw sequence … or possibly a 3-point basket that they could have been awarded four points on the scoreboard,” Brown said.

Brown said that both happened within close proximity to each other during “a flurry of scoring.”

“But it’s definitely one point off,” he said. “We know that for sure.”

Brown said he and his staff weren’t aware of the discrepancy until after the game.

“And that’s our fault for not keeping a closer eye on it,” Brown said.

Brown said the GHSA was contacted Wednesday morning as soon as its offices opened.

“We called and tried to appeal, but we were denied, because in the NFHS rule book it states that once the referees leave the floor and the game ends whatever is in the book, is in the book, even though we felt like we had video evidence and plenty of proof to show otherwise,” Brown said.

Carver-Columbus High School did not immediately respond to an email requesting a comment. A response from the GHSA is pending.

The defeat marked Jefferson’s fifth-straight loss in the quarterfinals round. Given the Dragons’ contention of a scorekeeping error, it made the narrow defeat that much tougher for Brown.

“I’ve never been a part of a loss before where the other team didn’t score more points than me,” Brown said. “And that’s hard to stomach …That was just our plea, I guess, that the other team didn’t score more points than we did.”

Brown said he was going to address the team about the situation on Thursday “to explain what happened.”

The Dragons finished the season at 23-5. Carver-Columbus will go on to play Cedar Shoals — which plays in Jefferson’s region — in the state semifinals.

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