Last-second call in Bullard loss involved basket interference, not a time issue

This last-second tip-in by Bullard’s Calvin Young was disallowed because of a basket interference ruling, denying the Knights a chance to play overtime in a 60-58 loss to Westchester.

A controversial, final-second ruling in a 60-58 win by Westchester-Los Angeles High at Bullard Friday night involved basket interference, not a time issue, says the official who made the call.

Calvin Young’s tip-in that would have sent the game into overtime was waved off by Tim Johnson, one of three officials working the first round game of the Southern California Regional Open Division boys basketball playoff.

“The call I had was basket interference,” Johnson said Saturday morning.

Basket interference has an offensive player touching a ball that is on or within the cylinder.

Johnson, from the Tulare/Kings County Officials Association, said he has since reviewed the play from a television newscast.

“I stand behind the call,” said Johnson, the trailing official who viewed the play from the backcourt. “I think it confirms it totally.”

A still shot taken off a KGPE-47 video of the play shows Young’s left hand, upon first contact with the ball, clearly in front of the rim. But a piece of the ball appears to be above the rim.

Bullard coach Tony Amundsen, who spoke briefly with Johnson as the official was rushing off the floor with his partners, was under the impression immediately following the game the tip-in was disallowed because the official felt time had expired.

In a chaotic scene, Knights fans — many reviewing cell phone photos or videos of the play — thought it was a time issue, also.

A photo taken from a cell phone by Teaghan Finks — the 14-year-old son of Bullard athletic director Doug Finks — showed what appears to be 0.2 remaining on the clock as the ball is in the basket.

Turns out, that was a moot point.

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Bullard boys a lock for state Open Division tournament

It’s a lock that Bullard’s boys will be invited within the hour to the first Open Division in the state basketball playoffs. And it’s also virtually guaranteed that the Knights will be seeded high enough to land a first-round home game — at least.

Bullard coach Tony Amundsen and star forward Calvin Young are about to be invited to the state’s first Open Division tournament.

The way things played out in the Southern Section playoffs — specifically, previously state No. 1 Long Beach Poly and No. 2 Mater Dei-Santa being upset by Etiwanda — Bullard could be seeded as high as No. 2, and no lower than No. 4.

Chances are, the three-year reigning Central Section D-I champion will be seeded third behind Etiwanda and Mater Dei, which the Knights lost to 85-66 for the SoCal Regional D-I title last year at Ontario’s Citizens Bank Arena.

Bullard had beaten Westchester-Los Angeles and Taft-Woodland Hills at home, and Poly on the road to get there. And that win over Poly should benefit the Knights in today’s seedings, which will also include the standard five divisions.

The Open Division, which will draw six to eight of the best teams — regardless of the divisions they represented in their sections — in both the North and South, which the Central Section is affiliated with.

Bullard’s administration, coaches and players have been favoring remaining in the state’s D-I, knowing they would be a top 3 seed, which would guarantee as many as three home games, should it keep winning.

But, as it played out, the Knights will be one of the top seeds anyway in the Open Division. And they will host a first-round game Wednesday.

Consider, because of the SoCal upsets, Cal-Hi Sports now has Salesian-Richmond ranked No. 1 in the state. And that’s the team Bullard defeated 60-54 on a neutral floor in early December.

Cal-Hi projects seven teams for the SoCal boys Open Division: Bullard (27-2), El Camino Real-Woodland Hills (28-3), Etiwanda (27-2), LB Poly (27-3), Pacific Hills-Los Angeles (24-4), Mater Dei (30-2) and Westchester (28-6).

Cal-Hi also projects section D-II champion Ridgeview to make the SoCal girls Open Division.

Clovis North vs. Bullard hoop notes and more

First, here’s a few running floaters on tonight’s Central Section boys Division I basketball semifinal, matching fifth-seeded Clovis North (18-10) at No. 1 Bullard (25-2) at 7 o’clock:

** Bullard is 60-3 vs. section competition with a whopping 26.5-point scoring differential in the past three seasons.

** The Knights, ranked sixth in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, fit all the criteria to be invited to this year’s new Open Division in the state playoffs. Among those ranked above them, they’ve beaten No. 3 Salesian-Richmond (60-54) and lost to No. 4 Sheldon-Sacramento (85-74).

** Bullard and Clovis North haven’t played each other this season. The Knights defeated Liberty-Bakersfield 76-46 in the quarterfinals. And that came six weeks after Liberty beat Clovis North 69-44 in Super Saturday at Edison.

Clovis North 5-9 freshman guard Colin Slater can expect four quarters of long-armed defensive pressure at Bullard tonight.

** Key for Clovis North tonight is how Colin Slater — at 5-9 and its leading scorer — holds up against all that long-armed Bullard backcourt presssure with the likes of 6-5 Corey Silvestrom and 6-4 Adam Armstead. Knights 5-9 point guard Chris Russell will surely be chasing Slater around, also.

** Bullard is the two-year reigning D-I champion. The Knights-Broncos winner will play tonight’s Clovis West at Central winner Saturday at 8 p.m. at Selland Arena for the championship. Bullard has defeated Clovis West for the past two titles.

Other notes:

** Despite Hanford’s head-snapping 57-39 loss at Clovis West last night in a D-I girls semi, the community is still guaranteed to be represented at Selland Friday at 8 p.m. That’s because No. 8 Hanford will play tonight at No. 5 Hanford West in a D-II boys semi. Upsets set this up with Hanford knocking off No. 1 Sunnyside and Hanford West winning at No. 4 East Bakersfield.

** When Ridgeview’s 6-3 and Stanford-bound center Erica McCall (right) makes her fourth consecutive appearance in Selland Friday to play Garces for the D-II title, she’ll arrive with 955 career blocks (state record), 1,915 rebounds (No. 3 in state history) and 2,517 points (No. 3 in section history), according to section historian Bob Barnett.

Stretch run in boys/girls hoops: Here are key games in final week

There are five basketball games in particular this week that will carry extra signficance entering Saturday’s seedings for the Central Section boys and girls playoffs.

Here are the Fab Five, in chronological order:

Washington coach Tony Petersen gets a second shot at Sierra Tuesday night with the North Sequoia League title on the line.

Tuesday: Sierra at Washington boys in the North Sequoia League. Will decide league title and, quite possibly, the Division IV No. 1 seeds. Sierra beat the Panthers 75-63 in the first round behind Casey Blunt’s school-record 47 points. Sierra placed second to CVC for the D-IV title a year ago after Washington and The Bee’s Coach of the Year, Tony Petersen, defeated CVC for the 2011 D-IV crown.

Wednesday: Mission Oak at Tulare boys in the East Yosemite League. Hawks have one-game lead on the Redskins after crushing them 81-54 in the first round. Also beat them 77-73 for Polly Wilhelmsen title. Mission Oak ranked No. 2 behind Independence in D-III. Tulare looking at a 5-7 seed in D-I.

Wednesday: Clovis North at Central boys in the Tri-River Athletic Conference. Clovis North tied with Clovis West for second, one game behind Central. The Grizzlies, looking at a No. 2 D-I seed behind Bullard, won 65-47 at Clovis North in the first round.

Thursday: Edison at Bullard girls in the County/Metro Athletic Conference. Tigers lead the Knights by one game after beating them 56-51 in the first round. Bullard had defeated Edison 62-41 in the HIT. This one huge for D-I seeding, which promises to be a five-team scramble (CW, Clovis, Bullard, Edison, Stockdale) behind two-year reigning champion Hanford.

Friday: Bullard at Edison boys in CMAC. Knights lead Tigers by one game after defeating them 66-61 in first round. Bullard, ranked No. 8 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, would likely retain No. 1 seed even with a loss here. Hard to say what a win or loss would mean to Edison, which has lost to Clovis North — which looms large for seeding.

Putting Bullard boys hoops dominance into numbers: Gotta see to believe

Bullard High’s Calvin Young drives by Central’s defense in second half action during the final championship of the 54th Annual Holiday Invitational Tournament held at Hoover High School’s event center on Saturday, December 22, 2012. (ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE)

Was curious, so just crunched some numbers for the Bullard boys basketball program that has reduced Central Section competition to virtual scrimmages for three years running.

Consider:

** The Knights, under coach Tony Amundsen, are 52-3 against section opposition while going 75-13 overall with two consecutive section Division I titles in the past three seasons.

** And here’s the wow number: Bullard has outscored section foes by an average of 25.0 points in those 55 games — 25.0!

Don’t be too quick to say this is all about weak County/Metro Athletic Conference (besides Edison) competition, either. In winning the past two D-I crowns, the Knights defeated Clovis East, Central (twice), Bakersfield and Clovis West (twice).

And while this does not apply to their run against section teams, they are succeeding quite well against perennial state powers as well. That included Southern California Regional wins over Westchester-LA, Taft-Woodlake Hills and Long Beach Poly last year, and conquests this season over then-state No. 2 Salesian-Richmond, Oaks Christian-Westlake Village and Dorsey-LA, among others.