MABLETON, Ga. - There are no sour grapes, no coaches saying publicly that the results would have or even could have been different. Still, there is some still can hardly believe the Georgia high school state basketball championships were played with the baskets in the wrong place. The Georgia High School Association, the group that runs the state tournament, acknowledged that the baskets were placed about a foot too far back, making, for instance, every free throw a foot too long.
"Basketball coaches are upset because this would have never happened with football," said Pebblebrook head coach George Washington whose team lost to Westlake in overtime of the AAAAAA title game. "If you take a football game at the Georgia Dome and it was 110 yards, 120 yards, you think they would've played it? No way, no how."
Coaches pointed to missed free throws and other problems: among them, with the rim not extending as as far over the court, players often stepped out of bounds after securing rebounds. Coaches told officials about the problems: Washington says he notified officials before the AAAAAA game on Saturday night. Additionally, Allatoona head coach Markus Hood, who declined an on-camera interview with FOX 5, confirmed over the phone he told officials about the issue before Friday's AAAAA championship game which his team lost to Miller Grove.
"We didn't think it had an effect on what was going on," said GHSA executive director Gary Phillips over the phone on Saturday. " It was the same for both teams, you play on this end, you play on that end. The goals are in the same position in relevance to being in the wrong position."
Now teams are left wondering "what if," especially in the games that came down to just a few points.
"A couple of my seniors are really, really upset about it," said Washington. "We play tough schedules all over the United States to make Georgia basketball look great, this is how we get treated. This is what we want to change, if we can change anything, change the venue."
Other coaches who did not want to be interviewed on camera echoed Washington's desire to move the state finals away from the Macon Coliseum. Washington says he heard from his team's fans about problems with bathrooms and concessions in addition to the baskets being in the wrong spot. Other coaches said the court itself has problems with cracks in the wood and dead spots on the floor.
The GHSA says it has no plans to replay the championship games or name co-champions.