Haskell Indian Nations University men's basketball coach Jamie Morrison does not believe referees determine the outcome of games, but Saturday night he thought they came close.
The Fightin' Indians were down 78-76 to York (Neb.) College with 10 seconds to play. After a York miss, HINU senior forward Andy Deal got the ball and seemingly got hammered by a couple of Panthers. He thought he heard a whistle, as did Morrison and every other member of the team. Officials said there was no foul and no whistle.
"We could have still been playing," Deal said. "Not much I can say. It was just taken away from us."
Morrison shared his player's sentiments.
"This was a game that we had to win," Morrison said. "To make that non-call was inexcusable."
Despite the loss, it took quite an effort for Haskell (4-17) to get the game into a single-possession contest. HINU was down 44-31 at halftime but clawed back in the game with timely shots that woke up a dormant crowd at Coffin Complex.
"The last few minutes we came together," said Deal, who finished with 12 points.
Ladson led Haskell with 21 points, and Topah Spoonhunter added 17.
Alain Laroche led York (13-13) with 28 points. Finishing close behind was sophomore guard Nate Harris, who once attended Kansas University during the 2000-01 school year and finished behind Lewis Harrison for the final walk-on spot on the men's basketball team. Harris transferred to York the next year.
Harris holds no grudges.
"It feels great to be back here. It feels like home," Harris said. "I have nothing against Kansas basketball. I owe them my transition game."
York women 60, Haskell 54
The Haskell women lost to York, but it would be hard to put the blame on Samantha Pete. The sophomore finished with 22 points, going 6-for-8 beyond the three-point line.
Haskell (6-17) had to climb back in the second half, using a 12-0 run midway through the half with eight points coming from Pete.
York (10-16) only held a 53-51 lead when Carey Jo Wallace, who led York with 13 points, nailed a three-pointer for the Panthers to put the game out of reach with about 20 seconds left to play.
"It banked in. That's no fair," coach Phil Homeratha said. "That's the third time this year we've lost on a shot like that."
Both the Haskell men and women will play host Tuesday to Peru State.