BOULDER -- Matt Johannsen certainly wasn't offering to give up the victory in the Front Range League standings.
But the Fossil Ridge boys basketball coach sure had a sick look on his face as he approached Boulder coach Eric Eisenhard outside the locker room and told him he thought the Panthers deserved to win the game Tuesday night.
After Boulder led for most of the way on its home court, Fossil Ridge's Alex Semadini caught a long inbounds pass at mid-court with 3.9 seconds left, drove to the lane, hit an 8-foot floater and drew a foul call as time expired.
His ensuing free throw with no time left on the clock lifted the visiting SaberCats to a 58-57 victory, while Boulder fans were livid, believing that Panthers defender Alejandro Rodriguez had drawn a charge on Semadini's tying bucket.
Johannsen might have agreed with the Boulder faithful, though he stopped short of calling the play a charge.
"I thought it was a tough call," Johannsen said. "... I'm happy that we won, but I'm not sure the best team won."
Eisenhard was more direct.
"We just won that game," he said. "It was a charge. At the very least the referee has a duty to let the kids finish the game" in overtime instead of calling a foul at all on the play.
Semadini's game-winning play capped a frenetic final few minutes of the game, and it wasn't the only controversial moment caused by the officiating.
The Panthers (12-6, 6-5) led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter before Fossil (14,-4, 9-2) rallied to take a 51-50 lead on a layup by Semadini with 2:22 to go.
With Fossil leading 55-54, the SaberCats' Cody McCoy was called for a foul during a scrum under the basket for a rebound. It appeared that McCoy had knocked Boulder's Cooper Bohm to the court, but officials originally sent Garrett Turner to the line for the bonus free throws.
The refs eventually changed their minds in the wake of vehement protests from the Fossil crowd and bench. However, instead of sending Bohm, who had missed two free throws minutes earlier, to the line, the refs sent to the line Kevin Van Lieshout, who promptly drained both freebies for a 56-55 lead with 13.6 seconds to play.
Rodriguez stole the ball on Fossil's next possession and hit one of two free throws for a 57-55 edge to set up Semadini's heroics for his team.
"I was just trying to stay calm," Semadini said of stepping to the free-throw line with no time on the clock. "I was trying to think of the funniest joke I could think of to keep calm. ... And it worked."
The crazy final plays overshadowed great performances by both Semadini and Charnick.
Semadini scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second half to keep Fossil in the game, while Charnick, a 6-foot-4 center, drained six of Boulder's 10 3-pointers to finish with a game-high 20 points. Each player logged eight rebounds.
McCoy added 13 points for Fossil, while Turner (17) and Rodriguez (13) scored in double figures for Boulder.
Boulder players, though stunned, didn't offer much in the way of opinions on the final play.
"It doesn't matter," said Charnick, who placed the responsibility on his own team needing to make one more play. "They got the win in the record book."
Said Eisenhard: "I just went into the locker room and said, 'We just won, so we're not going to allow it to kill our momentum or our spirit.'"
Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshLindenstein
Fossil Ridge 58, Boulder 57
At Boulder HS
FOSSIL RIDGE (14-4, 9-2)
Peter 2 0-0 4, McCoy 5 0-0 13, Bodnar 0 0-0 0, A. Quaid 2 0-0 5, E. Smith 3 6-8 13, Nelson 0 1-2 1, Semadini 8 1-1 17, Herkstroeter 2 1-2 5. Totals 22 9-13 58.
BOULDER (12-6, 6-5)
Turner 6 2-3 17, Kelly 0 0-0 0, Charnick 7 1-1 20, Riverol 0 1-2 1, Van Lieshout 1 2-2 4, Rodriguez 5 2-4 13, Bohm 1 0-2 2, Blessing 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 8-14 57.
Score by quarters:
Fossil Ridge 9 15 14 20 -- 58
Boulder 12 15 12 18 -- 57
3-point field goals -- Fossil Ridge (5): McCoy 3, A. Quaid, E. Smith; Boulder (10): Charnick 6, Turner 3, Rodriguez. Total fouls -- Fossil Ridge 15, Boulder 11. Fouled out -- McCoy. Technicals -- None.