‘All I know is it was close’: Officials rule Hoyt’s 3-pointer comes split-second late as Raiders fall
HIGHLAND, Ill. — Jake Hoyt was very diplomatic with his answer when asked if the 3-pointer he launched as time expired beat the buzzer.
“All I know is that it was close,” he said.
Close enough for a debate.
With the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball team trailing Highland by three points and 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Hoyt was fouled and made the first of two free throws. He intentionally missed the second, watching it carom off the front of the rim and fall to the floor where it was batted about.
The senior guard picked up the loose ball on the right wing and hoisted a 3-pointer that found nothing but net, which would have given the Raiders the victory. Instead, they were saddled with a 56-54 loss in the 31st Highland Optimist Shootout as officials said the shot left Hoyt’s hand after the clock ran out and disallowed the make.
“We have a free-throw play there and we executed it perfectly,” QND coach Kevin Meyer said. “We were a little bit late coming over to get the rebound, but it kicked right out to him and he makes the shot. We thought we’d won it.”
The QND players and coaches spilled onto the floor as the shot went through the net, only to immediately become exasperated by the call.
An official’s mechanics contributed to that. The referee on the sideline nearest Hoyt raised his left arm to signal a 3-point attempt as the shot was made but subsequently waved it off.
“We are obviously very frustrated, but it’s not about the last five seconds of the game,” Hoyt said. “We are frustrated with how we couldn’t handle pressure or make our free throws in the last six minutes of the game.”
Learning from that becomes the challenge.
QND (11-6) led 53-44 with 3:29 remaining before Highland went on a 12-0 run, tying the game on Garrin Stone’s layin with 1:55 to play. The Raiders turned the ball over on an errant pass with 1:18 to go, and the Bulldogs held for the final shot.
Coming out of a timeout with 12.9 seconds remaining, Highland’s Cale Altadonna delivered a perfect bounce pass on a backcut Braxdon Decker, who made the layin, was fouled and made the free throw for a 56-53 lead with 3.2 seconds left.
QND took a timeout after the free throw and got the ball inbounded to Hoyt, who was immediately fouled. It put into motion the final frustrating sequence.
“We reminded them the plays before that in the fourth quarter are what lost us the game,” said Meyer, whose team committed eight second-half turnovers after giving it away once in the first half. “Make it a coachable moment when we watch film of the fourth quarter to ensure we get better from it.”
The Raiders likely will shoot a lot of free throws, too. They went 8 of 16 from the line, including going 3 of 9 in the second half.
“That’s a relationship of you, the ball and the basket,” Meyer said. “We have to find a way to make more free throws.”
They also cannot allow this loss to create a tailspin, not after winning four consecutive games prior to this and winning the first two in a three-games-in-three-days stretch.
“There’s no doubt about it. We can’t let this bring us down,” said Meyer, who got 17 points from Alex Connoyer and 11 points from Charlie Lavery. “That was a really challenging team, really physical team. You play on their court after a long drive. I told them in the locker room, ‘Hey, we lost today, but we had a great weekend.’”
Hoyt echoed that sentiment.
“Yeah absolutely, we have to learn from the mistakes we made and get better from it,” he said. “We did a lot of things well, so we have to also continue to do those.”
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