Defiant Slayers walk off in protest of poor officiating
Urban Knights advanced to the FLOW/National Basketball League (NBL) final after game three of their best-of-three semi-final series against St George's Slayers ended prematurely at the National Stadium courts on Tuesday.
The Slayers, who were trailing 38-60, walked off the court with five minutes 26 seconds remaining in the third quarter in protest over the officiating after Paul Oliphant was thrown out of the game.
Oliphant, who received a technical in the second quarter after scoring a three-pointer and then uttering something offensive to one of the match officials, was again at the centre of the Slayers' controversial decision.
The player who was up in arms with referee, Michael Johnson, after the latter called a charging foul on teammate Troy Constantine, who was thrown out of the game by the referee.
But the St George's players who had complained about unfair calls by the match officials the entire evening, decided that they would join their teammate off the court and not continue the game.
A furious Slayers' coach, Rohan Robinson, said the match officials are taking the spotlight away from the players.
"If you say something to the referee, they tell you to shut up your mouth and things like that, and you can't deal with people like that.
"The spectators come to watch the players play not them (referees) and they are taking it away from them (players)," he fumed.
League director, Marland Nattie, said despite the Slayers' frustration, they should have completed the game, and although they will not face a ban or suspension, he said a hefty fine will be laid against the former two-time winners.
"The coach should have continued playing the game... and at the end of the game sign the scoresheet and the protest and submit a report to the association in 24 hours.
"Then it would be reviewed and the necessary discussions take place and it we were to have a replay we would have a replay. But if not the game would stand as it is," he explained.
The Slayers started the better of the teams, but towards the latter part of the first quarter, Fernando Young, who missed game two due to an injury, came to the fore and showed what the Knights were missing in that game.
The Urban Knights captain inspired his team from a four-point deficit (14-11) with three minutes 22 second remaining to lead them to a 24-18 advantage at the break.
The Knights and Young continued to control the game in the second quarter, but things got worse for the Slayers when Oliphant received a technical and was pulled from the game by his coach after he failed to control his temper and continuously vented his disapproval of the match officials.
The Slayers then went through a moment of confusion, of which the Knights took advantage and stretched their lead to 20 points (45-25) with three minutes 48 seconds left in the quarter, and they then led by 18 points (52-34) at half-time.
And although the Slayers tried to regroup after the break, things went haywire again when Oliphant protested the call against his teammate, Constantine, and was ejected.
Urban Knights coach Oniel Brown said the Slayers' decision does not look good on the league.
"The Slayers showed indiscipline at the end, this (referee issue) has been going on over the years... if Urban Knights were in this situation, we would have handled it because we are a disciplined team," he said.
Knights' Andre Murray was the game's leading scorer with 20 points and six rebounds, followed by Young with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Desmond Harriott was the Slayers leading scorer with seven points.