Wild night in Windham
WINDHAM – You’ve undoubtedly heard of a walk-off home run in baseball.
Basketball’s version of a walk-off happened Tuesday on Marty Hill Court when the John F. Kennedy Eagles collectively headed to the locker room with 3:51 remaining in the fourth quarter against the Windham Bombers. The decision was made by assistant coach Marlon McGaughy, who was calling the shots after head coach Shawn Pompelia was ejected for picking up his second technical foul.
McGaughy based his decision on player safety. It followed a sequence in which technical fouls were called on a player from each team. A brief shoving match preceded the technicals, after which order was restored.
McGaughy gathered the players near the bench area and then directed them to the locker room.
By the time the Eagles returned to finish the game, the three officials had left the building. The game was terminated with the Bombers winning, 88-49.
“It wasn’t more or less about the game,” McGaughy said. “I don’t want to be disrespectful to any school, but it was just that the fans started to throw stuff at my players and were talking to my players. I’m not going to have that, so I decided to get them off for safety reasons.”
There was tension building from the start between the JFK coaches and the three-man officiating crew. McGaughy, who served as head coach because of an illness suffered by Pompelia, was whistled for an early technical, as was Pompelia. Later in the game senior Dominic Naples was called for a technical. Pompelia received his second technical in the fourth quarter. He argued that he was never called for a technical a first time, claiming that the official that made the first call heard a fan yelling from the stands.
When the Eagles walked off the court, one of the officials was confronted by two irate JFK fans. Another official had to separate his partner from one of the fans.
Pompelia deferred questions to McGaughy as he walked out of the locker room. Having not seen what took place on the floor in the final moments, Pompelia said that he was told in the locker room that there was a near brawl.
Windham coach Marty Hill was disappointed with the events that led to the early termination of the game.
“It was a bad decision,” Hill said. “We were up almost 40 points. It couldn’t have been just the officials. I thought we played a great game, and that takes away from our kids and I feel bad for their kids. I think Shawn leaving the court had a factor in that because I don’t think he would have done that.”
Before things got out of hand, the Bombers spotted the Eagles a 20-17 lead after one quarter but dominated play the rest of the way. Windham took a 40-33 lead at halftime and then put up 35 points in the third quarter to lead, 75-46.
The Bombers, who forced eight turnovers in the third quarter, scored with ease in transition. Their biggest run in the third period was 13 points to push the advantage to 29 points.
The Bombers (17-1) were led in scoring by Matt Knight, who had 22 points. Cameron Pozsgai had 21, followed by Jared Taylor with 14 and Parker Rickey with 12.
“This was a big game for our kids to prove something and we have had a good season,” Hill said. “We’re going to try to continue that. Our kids were fired up for this game. We’ve had a lot of close games with JFK in the last three years.”
John Hilty had 13 points for the Eagles (3-13). Luke Keck had 10.