BANGOR — Brayden Bradbury is still angry about it. And who can blame him?

The Central Aroostook senior was on the court for the now-infamous ending to the Class C North final, when the Panthers fell to Dexter 50-48 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer — one that replays suggest was released a fraction of a second after the clock ran out.

It’s been two weeks, and Bradbury’s emotions are still raw.

“I worked my whole life to get to that moment,” he said Saturday, “and you get stripped of that. That’s something you’ll never get back.”

The play has started a debate around the sport about whether it’s time for Maine to join 17 other states and start using replay to verify or change tournament calls. Soon after the controversy began, the Maine Principals’ Association announced it will discuss that option.

Bradbury made his opinion clear.

“Obviously, I think there needs to be something at the end of the game,” he said. “I think a replay system would be 100 percent worth it. You only need to use it once. It can be used for only after-buzzer events. … It doesn’t need to be used all game long.

“Some people say you’re only going to use it once every 20 years. Well, from my standpoint, I would have paid myself to have replay there.”

Though the debate has generated spirited discussions between both sides, players at the McDonald’s Maine All-Star Games at Husson University were largely ambivalent about the idea. Some were eager to see replay instituted, but were wary of how easily it could be overused. Others sided against replay, but acknowledged how upset they would be to have been in Central Aroostook’s position.

Some had stronger opinions than others.

Personally, I don’t think we should have replay in the state because I feel like that’s not a top priority. I feel like a top priority is a shot clock,” said Hampden Academy’s Bryce Lausier, who the day before was named the Mr. Maine Basketball winner. “It’s just going to slow the game down, because if you want to review everything in the last few minutes of the game, we’re going to be there for a while.”

“I definitely say that we do need replay, especially for big games like that,” Waterville’s Sadie Garling said. “I want to see it for foul calls, like charges, because sometimes you have to check if their feet were set or they were in the right spot. So I definitely feel like we need it. Especially in a huge game like that.”

Messalonskee’s Gabrielle Wener agreed that replay could help refine the game.

I think that’d actually be great,” she said. “Sometimes even a simple ‘who it went off of to go out of bounds’ (call) in certain circumstances, that could be the deciding factor to winning or losing a game. I think that’d actually be incredibly helpful.”

Cony’s Simon McCormick said he liked the idea of replay, but was worried about the slippery slope notion — what starts out as a plan to review buzzer plays inevitably swells to include boundary plays, then travel calls, then fouls, and more.

“I’m kind of in the middle,” he said. “I think it’d be a good thing for certain reasons, but I think if it’s implemented there’d be a lot of rules to sustain it or keep it minimized. Because if it’s overused, it’s not going to be good for Maine basketball, and there’d be a lot of stoppages.”

Caribou’s Parker Deprey, who along with Lausier was in attendance for the Dexter-Central Aroostook ending, shared McCormick’s concerns.

I don’t really think it’s necessary. I think that this may have been the one exception, but if you make the exception for this, how many other calls are you going to have to change?” he said. “If you do that, you’re just going to have an argument over every single call.”

Deprey acknowledged, however, that most players find it hard to take a side.

I feel like a lot of people are in the middle ground,” he said, “because you can really see the argument for both sides.”

Count Winslow’s Silver Clukey among replay’s supporters.

Especially with one of these situations, I think really strongly about it,” she said. “It could be very necessary. … I think it would be helpful, especially in those last-minute tight games, with those last shots. I think it would be very helpful.”

Hampden’s Alydia Brillant is one as well. She hasn’t been in Central Aroostook’s position, but she knew how it would feel if she were.

“I think it’d be a good idea,” she said. “Because sometimes the smallest calls, (like) travels, can determine a game.”


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