‘One of the dirtiest plays ever seen’

FOOTAGE of a dangerous foul in an American high school basketball game has gone viral as fans reacted with disgust to the "dirty" play.

During the Class 1A division one semi-final between Hanover and Centralia on Saturday (AEDT) in Hays, Kansas, the third quarter was marred by an ugly incident that sent the crowd into raptures and left one star face down on the court.

Hanover player Thomas Atkins should have been celebrating after his breakaway for an open court dunk but even though his play resulted in adding two points to the scoreboard, that was overshadowed by the horrible foul.

An unidentified Centralia player was tracking back in defence, following Atkins as he charged to the rim, but he was never going to catch the man with the ball.

When Atkins jumped up for his jam, his opponent pushed him in the back while he was in mid air. Without any hope of stabilising himself, Atkins went flying forwards and crashed into part of the structure holding the hoop up as the crowd went wild.

The offender turned his back and started walking in the opposite direction. Remarkably, he was not ejected - the incident was assessed only as a flagrant foul.

Per US media, Atkins left the court briefly but was OK to return later on and help Hanover win the game in overtime to advance to the state title game.

US website Deadspin called it a "breathtakingly dirty, dangerous foul".

"Here is an absolutely awful, perhaps criminal play," Chris Thompson wrote. "Perhaps the most unbelievable part of the video is that a massive brawl did not immediately commence."

Tim Whelan Jr of USA Today wrote: "No matter a game's intensity, there is no place for fouls like this one.

"For that split-second any hit can do serious damage given the player's vulnerability and the distance he has to travel to the ground."

Andrew Doughty of Hero Sports called the brain snap an "incomprehensible" moment and American radio host and writer for sports website The Read Optional Trey Wallace was scathing of the play, as were plenty of others on social media.

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