GARDINER — The level of controversy Friday night at Gardiner Area High School, like the beauty of the end result, was in the eye of the beholder.

Gardiner felt vindicated and Leavitt felt jobbed after the Tigers’ 48-47 overtime triumph in a KVAC Class B donnybrook.

Matt Hall swished a free throw with all zeroes on the clock — only his third point of the evening — to give Gardiner the victory.

That’s the bottom line. It’s how we got there that left the three-man officiating crew scurrying for cover, Gardiner pig-piling Hall at the top of the key, Leavitt fans and coaches vehemently protesting and police officers calling for backup.

Mike Trahan’s 12-foot jumper for the win was an air ball. It was heading out of bounds with Hall and Leavitt’s Tyler Allen giving chase as the buzzer sounded.

Allen appeared to nudge Hall as the two reached the baseline in front of referee Rocky Buck. And although the buzzer audibly preceded Buck’s whistle, the veteran official authoritatively signaled a foul and immediately made his way to the scorer’s table.

There were multiple versions of that story in the aftermath, all toeing black-and-orange or green-and-white party lines.

“I saw two guys out of bounds run into each other after the buzzer,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “There’s nothing I can say that’s going to help. I’ve got to leave it at that. It’s unfortunate that when two teams battle (into) overtime like that that it’s not decided with the clock running. They should have thrown that ball up and taken four more minutes to see who the real winner of that game was.”

Hall, who was in the game for defensive purposes and had Justin Lovely waiting to replace him for the final 30 seconds, gave a slightly abridged account.

“I just went after the loose rebound, and he shoved me out of bounds,” Hall said. “I didn’t think they were going to call it, but the ref was standing right there and he saw the kid shove me. He had to do something.”

Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy sounded even more convinced, declaring that there were at least three seconds left when Trahan‘s try missed the rim.

“(Allen) two-hand shoved him, I think, thinking the buzzer went off, and Buck was staring right at him. Obviously we think it was a good call,” Cassidy said. “It was a real thing. It was definitely on the rebounding action. You’ve got to call that.”

Not that the game was remotely in the books yet. Gardiner missed 10 free throws prior to Hall’s heroism.

But the foul was Leavitt’s 10th of the second half and overtime, creating a double-bonus situation and giving Hall two chances to clinch it.

He never took the second shot.

“I was just staring at the rim, focusing,” Hall said. “I’m not the best at foul shooting. I knew I had to make one. I’d rather make the first one than have to make the second.”

Both teams are now 12-4. Leavitt ranks sixth in Western B; Gardiner entered the night seventh in Eastern B. The Tigers avenged a 46-42 loss in Turner on Dec. 17.

“They can go on some runs. They did that last time,” said Jake Palmer, who led Gardiner with 18 points. “We just wanted to stay within five or six the whole game and get it at the end.”

Leavitt led for most of regulation and enjoyed the largest cushion for either team at seven, 38-31, with a minute left in the third quarter.

Palmer scored seven straight points in the fourth, including his third 3-pointer, followed by an off-balance floater to give Gardiner a 42-40 edge with 1:45 to go in regulation.

Jordan Hersom hit one of two free throws on Leavitt’s next possession. After a steal by Allen, a miss, a tie-up, another miss and a dead-ball rebound, Tim Dow (team-high 12 points) drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Hornets up by two.

Kaleb Smith’s put-back tied it with 7.9 seconds to go. Smith was fouled on the play but missed the go-ahead free throw attempt.

Leavitt called timeout to set up a play, but Hersom’s desperation 3-pointer was waved off when it banked in after the buzzer.

Dow’s leaner from the right baseline gave the Hornets a 47-45 lead in OT. Smith answered with two free throws for Gardiner, then yanked down the defensive rebound that set up the bizarre ending.

Hersom finished with 10 points for Leavitt but was held to one field goal.

“They foul a lot in the post. They do a good job of forcing our guy off the block and making him catch farther from the hoop,” Hathaway said. “But they let that go on both ends. It’s not like we weren’t doing the same thing with (Aaron) Toman down here.”

Lucas Witham added nine points for Leavitt. Matt Janosco had eight, all off the bench in the first half. The Hornets held Gardiner big man Toman to eight points and point guard Trahan to six.

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