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Foul call helps W-S Certified win over Thunder

Zalinore Banks, No. 6 in blue, looks for an open teammate in the game last Saturday.

Foul call helps W-S Certified win over Thunder
April 20
05:45 2017

Photo by Timothy Ramsey

BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY 

THE CHRONICLE

The game between the Winston-Salem Certified and the Carolina Thunderbirds had the feel of an all-star game rather than a regular season matchup.  There were alley-oop dunks, fast breaking offense and not much defense on either side.

With less than three seconds left on the clock, the Certified found themselves down by two points.  After the ball was inbounded, a Thunder player inexplicably fouled a Certified player while he was shooting a three-point shot.  The Certified player hit all three from the stripe, giving the Certified the 142-141 victory.  The foul call was highly questionable as many in attendance did not agree with the referee calling the foul.

From the onset of the game both teams played an uptempo style of play.  The game was evenly matched throughout with both sides making run after run but neither team able to take full control.  At the half the Certified led 68-63.

After intermission the lead continued to go back and forth.  Every time one team made a run the other quickly answered.  The Thunder seemed to have the game in hand late but after a good inbound pass the Certified made the best of their last chance.  The controversial call had the Thunder team up in arms after the game causing an intense discussion with the referees after the game.

Thunder coach Sebastian Page was highly upset with the call and was unable to speak with The Chronicle after the game. Assistant coach Courtney Page did speak and said he disagreed with the call but knows you can’t leave a game in the hands of the officials.

“I thought we played well and we should have won the game but unfortunately there was some questionable officiating at the end of the game,” said Page.  “It was a hard-fought game and we did everything in our power to win but we just didn’t come out on top.”

“We now know that we cannot leave the game up in the air and in a position to have the refs make a call that works against us.  We should have been ahead by more. We missed layups and jumpers, which also affected the outcome of the game.”

Certified head coach Charles Thomas says he was happy to come away with the win but knows they need to tighten up on the defensive end.

“The chemistry of the team has been thrown off a bit because of injuries, but I’m really happy with the hustle and effort the team gave,” Thomas said.  “I am pleased with the offense scoring 142 points but with the defense giving up 141, I think it’s some things we need to work on in practice.

“Basketball is a game of runs and each team is gonna make and miss shots,” Thomas said. “Every team is going to have lapses but we just have to maximize our runs when we get them.”

Thomas spoke very highly of the contributions made by guard Antonio Robinson. who finished with a team high 33 points.

“He is one of our top two players and he comes to play every night,” Thomas said of Robinson. “He looks to get everyone involved before looking for his own shot and that really helps the team out a lot.”

Robinson added, “I think I played pretty well because I was looking to score more today.  Going forward, we just see that we can play team basketball and knuckled up in the end and got stops when we need them.”

Thomas said he expects more close hard-fought games going forward until he gets his team back at 100 percent.  He thinks once this happens, they can totally gel as a unit.

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Timothy Ramsey

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