Normally on Mondays, I stay home and watch WWE Monday Night Raw, and I'm used to seeing the bad guys take shortcuts to win, and only occasionally do they get caught.
Pro wrestling's theatre of the absurd, however, took a backseat to a real-life screwjob last night in Albany.
Troy High & Christian Brothers Academy, meeting for the third time in the 2011-12 season, played at Times Union Center, and for a while, it seemed as though Troy was out to prove that their upset at CBA in January was anything but a fluke. They led, 18-6, after the first quarter, but CBA chipped away at the lead, bit by bit. Troy saw their lead shrink to 8 points, at 28-20, at the break, and down to three after three quarters.
What really rankled me, and virtually every Troy fan that was at the game, was what happened at the end of regulation in the 4th quarter. CBA's Chaz Lott, one of their stars, was called for a foul with what appeared to be about a tenth of a second left. That would've sent Troy's Dyare Holt to the line with a chance to win the game and the Section 2 Class AA title. The referees conferred and suddenly decided, no, there was no foul, and time expired.
Troy coach Richard Hurley was irate, and had every right to be. However, Troy was accessed a technical foul, and CBA's Joe Krong sank two free throws before the start of overtime. CBA then used that to start a 11-0 run in the extra session. Troy fought back and got within four, but that was as close as it would get before CBA won, 62-57.
Hurley said all the right things after the game, even offering some game films of CBA's next opponent, but also hinted that this was business as usual for CBA, that they get all the key calls. I had a fellow sitting behind me who said both game officials were alumni from----wait for it----CBA. Another CBA alumnus was honored with a lifetime achievement award at halftime. The bottom line is that Troy got screwed. They allowed that 11-0 run because they were still reeling from the non-call at the end of regulation, and didn't realign their defense fast enough.
CBA has long been regarded as one of the elite teams in Section 2 basketball, and you'd think they do things the honest, honorable way. The fan I talked to said that the non-call was one of the reasons why people hate CBA. It's all about protecting their reputation, which means it's no different than it is for a pristine college program, such as Duke, for example.
It's never a good idea to mix politics in sports. We see the same teams get favorable calls over and over in pro & college football & basketball. The same thing happens at the high school level, as it turns out, and it shouldn't.
Where Section 2 fails in this case has to do with the video screens on the overhead scoreboard. They're always in use when Siena plays and when the Albany Devils play hockey, but not for a high school game? Say what? Video replay would've verified the exact amount of time left in the game when Lott fouled Holt, and we wouldn't have had to see a good game ruined by a political snow job.
When Troy & CBA meet next season at Troy, you know the Brothers will now be booed out of the building for soiling what should've been the game of the year in local high school basketball by playing politics. What Section 2 must do is assign game officials with no ties to CBA for all of their games, especially at home. CBA returns to Troy to play a regional game at Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday against a team from Utica. You can bank on this. The Troy partisans at the game will have a rooting interest, but it may not be the one you'd think.