Savannah, GA – The Jenkin Warriors had plenty of confidence going into their second straight title against the same team, Morgan County.
Bakari Bryant, Jenkins Head Coach, says “We had a great week of practice because we practiced at Savannah State University which is on the same type of rim we were going to be playing on in the state championship and the guys were shooting well.”
But they never expected anything like this.
Bryant says “Saturday night after the game the recs were too far back that’s when it hit me. That’s why we had an off night shooting.”
Dimetri Chambers, Jenkins Senior, says “You know at the state championship everything is suppose to be like top notch, everything is suppose to be together.”
Instead of shooting free throws 15 feet out, it was 16 feet, and 3 pointers, which are usually 19 feet and 9 inches, were actually 21 feet. This is the same distance NBA players shoot from.
Bryant says “It becomes muscle memory with the kids. You know shooting from a high school regulation rack. But then all of a sudden the state championship game you gotta play on a rec that’s further back I mean that bothers me.”
Chambers says “And we already shoot from 23, 24 plus feet and then that just added an extra inch where it was like you may air ball or hit the front of the rim.”
The stats are even surprising. The Warriors, a power shooting team, especially from the arc, shot 3-22.
Bryant says “And in the state playoffs we’ve been shooting 40% behind the arc and then all of a sudden to have a major drop like that in the biggest game of a kids high school career just doesn’t seem real.”
Darnell Sams, who shot 2-4 in the semi-finals, went 0-5. Dimetri Chambers, another big 3-point shooter, went 1-4.
Chambers says “It hit the front of the rim and when I felt it I felt like the shot was dead on.”
Coach Bryant isn’t upset that they lost, and doesn’t want to take anything from the teams that won, he just wants fairness.
Bryant says “It’s a problem for me it’s a problem for my kids and this is something that shouldn’t be swept under the rug.”
Maybe next year he will bring his own tape measure.