The Maine Principals’ Association’s Basketball Committee approved a plan Tuesday for the use of video replay at the end of the high school basketball tournament games.

If approved by the MPA’s general membership at its April 27 meeting, video replay will be allowed, if available, to determine if a shot was taken before time expires – but only at the end of the fourth quarter and the end of overtime periods. Replay also could be used to determine if the buzzer beating shot was a 2- or 3-pointer.

The rule mirrors the video replay rule of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), said Mike Burnham, executive director of the MPA’s Interscholastic Division. The replays would be dependent on video from broadcasters at tournament games. This winter, WHOU, a Houlton radio station, broadcast regional semifinals and finals as a livestream on its website, and Maine Public Broadcasting televised state championship games. Most quarterfinal games were livestreamed by NFHS, which has not had video-replay capabilities.

Some hurdles remain in how the replays will be used.

TJ Halliday, the state coordinator of game officials, said basketball refs met Monday and supported the rule change. But the game officials emphasized that review protocols should be set in place along with the option of video review. Officials should get together first to see if they’re in agreement on the call, they said, and a determination must be made as to where officials can check the official time.

In two recent buzzer-beater situations – the Class C North boys’ championship game between Dexter and Central Aroostook in 2020 and a Class AA South boys’ semifinal between Bonny Eagle and Thornton Academy in February – the red LED light on the backboard went off signifying the end of the game, while the scoreboard indicated fractions of a second left.


“Situations were encountered and aren’t really covered by rules,” Halliday said. “It can cause confusion.”

If all three game officials agree after conferring, they can choose not to look at the replay. Bonny Eagle Athletic Director Eric Curtis said in those situations, replay should be used, if only to confirm the unanimous decision by the officials.

“If the three officials agree, what’s the harm, if it’s that close, of going to the table as well?” Curtis said.

Halliday said it could be possible for officials to automatically check on any shot in flight at the buzzer. Whatever review happens, it must be done quickly. It’s all about easing anxiety for everyone involved at that point, Halliday said.

Burnham stressed that video replay should be limited to end-of-game shots. Burnham cited the NCAA basketball replay model – in which everything from shots to fouls is reviewed – as exactly what the MPA does not want to adopt.

“We don’t want to open this up to review everything at the end (of games),” Burnham said.


Replay is already in use in high school hockey in Maine, in arenas equipped with the technology for professional, junior and college games. Replay was used in each of the last two Class B state championship games at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena, in each case to verify a no-goal call on the ice.

Longtime basketball coaches say replay limited to shots at the end of the game is fine, but are not in favor of expanding replay beyond that.

“The pace of the game has picked up dramatically over the years,” said Biddeford girls’ coach Jeanine Paradis, who previously coached at Mt. Blue, Maranacook and Morse, and led Maranacook to the Class C state final in 2015. “When we played in the state game, that situation didn’t come up, but if it had, I would’ve wanted a second look at that.”

Dean Plante, the girls’ basketball coach and athletic director at Old Orchard Beach, said he can’t recall an instance in one of his team’s games when he wished there was replay available, but is in favor of its limited use in high school basketball.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and most of our buzzer beaters were pretty clear,” said Plante, whose Seagulls won their first state title with a 35-24 win over Dexter in the Class C state final earlier this month. “Honestly, I see no harm to it as long as the technology is sound. It has to be pretty conclusive, right?”

South Portland boys’ basketball coach Kevin Millington, whose team is the two-time defending Class AA state champ, said he has no problem with replay used in the specific situations outlined by this rule. In a time in which there’s a shortage of officials though, Millington is wary of second-guessing a lot of their on court calls.

“We’ve just got to be careful with Pandora’s Box here. I don’t think we’re in a position to scrutinize officials more than we already do,” Millington said. “It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction. I certainly feel for Bonny Eagle, but I didn’t think it was a chronic problem that needed a correction.”

Longtime Falmouth boys’ basketball coach Dave Halligan agreed that if the technology is sound and a review can be done quickly, reviewing buzzer beating shots can be a good thing. Like Millington, Halligan expressed reservations about expanding use of replay beyond that.

“People remember the end of games. They forget about 99% of the game and all the other moments where it could be won or lost. … We tell the kids the beginning of the game is just as important as the end,” Halligan said. “Especially in high school, part of the game is the human element. We’re not the NBA or NCAA.”

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