American River College’s women’s basketball team outlasted Cosumnes River College in overtime on Tuesday, pulling away in the extra frame after a controversial ending to regulation left the game tied despite three ARC players scoring in double figures.
Demontra Harrison led ARC offensively with 18 points, while fellow guard Jazlynne Macklin had 15 despite going 0-7 from 3-point range.
Forward Cassandra Jaimes had 10 points in the first half and 14 for the game.
ARC had led the entire game, and was ahead 49-47 with 15.9 seconds remaining. After CRC inbounded the ball, forward Jayla Anderson drove to the basket before being fouled by ARC guard Demontra Harrison, making the layup to tie the game and hitting the ensuing free throw for CRC’s first lead of the game, 50-49.
ARC called timeout with 7.5 seconds to play, and similarly drove to the basket, which resulted in Harrison being fouled, and she got two shots from the line with only 0.1 left on the clock.
ARC head coach J.R. Matsunami said only the positioning of players was set up for the potential game-ending play.
“(CRC looks) to trap on the right side,” she said. “At least on the left side, isolate (Harrison) with (CRC guard Eunae Robinson).”
“We didn’t think (Robinson) could keep (Harrison) off the boards. We wanted (Harrison) to at least get a shot or chance at the boards,” Matsunami said.
Harrison made the first free throw to tie the game at 50, after which CRC head coach Coral Sage called another timeout.
As Harrison stepped to the line after the timeout, music was still playing over the loudspeakers in the gym, and stopped between Harrison starting her form and releasing the ball. She would miss the shot, ending regulation.
Asked if the music was distracting during the attempt, Harrison said “I wouldn’t say (the music) is why I missed. I missed because my form wasn’t right.”
Matsunami agreed with Harrison.
“The gym could’ve been on fire and all the alarms going off, if you’re a player you make that free throw. And (Harrison) agrees,” said Matsunami.
The referees initially conferred for a moment after the miss ended regulation, but ultimately decided the music had in fact stopped playing before Harrison physically released the ball.
Matsunami argued the explanation at the time, but had a different take after the game.
“I think it would’ve been more controversial if they had let her shoot another free throw,” Matsunami said. “(Harrison) could’ve just refused the ball.”
Added Matsunami, “That’s a mistake on the part of the (scorer’s) table, the officials, and the players. I could’ve said something too.”
Despite the ending in regulation, ARC took immediate control in overtime, as guard Jazlynne Macklin made one of two from the line. Guard Kamari Hunter made a 3-pointer with 3:03 to play.
ARC never relinquished the lead in overtime, sealing the victory as Harrison knocked down a 3-pointer with 31.4 seconds left.
CRC kept up the pressure, cutting the lead to 61-59 with 14 seconds to go, but Macklin and Harrison ultimately kept the lead with six total free throws in the final 30 seconds after CRC was forced to intentionally foul.
Harrison, involved in all of the scrum that ended regulation, ended up making the big shot in overtime and scored the game’s final point from the free-throw line.
“I wasn’t supposed to shoot that,” said Harrison of the 3-pointer in overtime. “So it did feel good that it ended up going in.”
The win moved ARC to a record of 9-12 overall with a 4-5 record in-conference. Its next game is at Diablo Valley College on Friday, Feb. 6.