Buzzer-beaters galore: Substate basketball games end in breathtaking ways


Jimmy Feeney

North Scott’s Ty Anderson dribbles the ball at a game on Dec. 14. Anderson hit the game winning shot to advance North Scott to state.

Jimmy Feeney, Multimedia Manager

The “buzzer-beater” is one of the most exciting plays in sports. An entire game can end up encapsulated in one moment. That is what happened twice in one night on March 3.

Both North Scott and Davenport North advanced to the state basketball tournament on that day. How they got there was crazy to say the least. Both teams advanced on game winning buzzer-beaters, one of which is being argued that it should not have counted.

Davenport North made the state basketball tournament for the first time since 2003. They got there by beating a very good team, Dubuque Senior, on a last second shot by Jayden Houston. 

In the summer, Davenport North did not even have a coach. Nevertheless, they were lifted by one shot all the way to the top level of Iowa high school basketball. However, Houston’s shot was not even the most wild thing to happen that night. 

While trailing by two points to Waterloo West, North Scott’s Ty Anderson caught the ball off of a full court heave pass with only 0.6 seconds to get his shot off. Anderson not only got the shot off; he made it, sending North Scott to the state tournament.

0.6 seconds seems to be an impossible amount of time to get a shot off, especially the way Anderson did; and there’s a chance he did not. Following the game, social media was flooded with an image of the ball remaining in Anderson’s hand as the clock was at 0.0 seconds, thus showing the shot should not have counted at all. 

At the U.S. Cellular Center where the game was played multiple issues occured. The red backlight on the backboard is supposed to be the indicator of when the clock is truly at zero. However, this red light seemed to not be synced up with the clock properly, raising questions about the ability of the venue to host future basketball games. Along the same lines, a local Cedar Rapids team was not a neutral host of the game, but instead North Scott was, an unusual thing for the IHSAA.

Local sports reporter Matt Coss gave just thoughts on the situation as a whole. “By what the National High School Federation rule book states, yes the shot should have counted,” Coss said. “I’ve watched the replay at least 30 times and the shot clearly leaves Ty Anderson’s hands before the red light goes off. The problem is, it appears the red light and the clock weren’t entirely synced up.”

Regardless, Coss said it was the craziest finish he’s seen at the high school level. “The shot will be talked about for years to come, but the pass was absolutely remarkable. Trent Allard, a 6-foot-6 senior, ran the baseline and threw an absolute strike about 65 feet down the floor,” Coss said. “Then for Anderson to catch, turn and hit that shot from about 28 feet to win the game, it was a magical March moment.”

The Superintendent of Schools at South Tama County, Jared Smith, wrote an open letter to Tom Keating, the director of the IHSAA, as he was alum of Waterloo West. “My request to you is that the IHSAA consider communicating a statement of clarity/closure [to] the Waterloo West community about the decision,” Smith said. “I am hopeful that you and the administration at the IHSAA consider providing a definitive statement that would provide clarity and closure to this situation for the Waterloo West community as well as Iowa High School basketball fans across the state.”

The situation as a whole has been messy. An online petition calling for the reversal of the result of the game has already garnered over 6,000 signatures. The IHSAA has yet to put out a statement on the matter. 

Nevertheless, two teams from the MAC are in the state tournament, starting on Wednesday, Mar. 11. What happens then is sure to be exciting but surely not as sensational as Tuesday night.