Bethel High senior guard John Thompson raised his arms in jubilation and whooped it up with his teammates after his apparent winning 3-pointer splashed through the net in front of a raucous home crowd on Thursday night.
But the celebration quickly came to an abrupt and unhappy end.
While Thompson’s shot with 2 seconds to go clearly beat the game-clock buzzer, he didn’t get it off before the shot-clock buzzer, resulting in a turnover after referees determined the shot had indeed come late.
The late Bethel miscue helped Emerald Ridge escape with a 48-47 road victory in an SPSL South Division game featuring two teams fighting for third place.
Thompson’s shot came after a furious final three minutes that featured five lead changes.
Jeremy Harris’ put-back basket put Emerald Ridge (7-2 overall, 4-2 SPSL South) up by one with just under a minute to go, leading Bethel to call a timeout with 32 seconds to play. After not getting the look they wanted, the Braves called another timeout with 14 seconds left to set up the final play.
Thompson got the ball on the perimeter after Bethel couldn’t find an inside shot.
“To be honest, I didn’t know the shot clock was running down,” Emerald Ridge coach Pat Mullen said. “We were so focused on that last possession, we didn’t know the shot clock could be involved in it. I’m glad it was.”
After trailing by four at halftime, the Jaguars had to rally in the final quarter. Joseph Johnson’s long 3-pointer gave Bethel (8-3, 4-3) a 41-37 lead with four minutes to go.
Johnson finished with 19 points, including 15 in the second half. But Emerald Ridge answered with Harris (12 points) and his younger brother, Marcus (11), who combined for eight points in the fourth quarter.