Is it me or is there an epidemic of improbable buzzer beaters in high school basketball this year? The latest comes from the state playoffs in Wisconsin and it certainly woke up the cheeseheads.
The game was a regional final between Wisconsin Dells and River Valley, and with scored tied at 56, Dells senior Jade Royston heaved a desperate half court prayer just moments after he missed two free throws (he's an 80% shooter) that could have put the game away. His team had already blown a 10-point fourth quarter lead, had one player injured, another fouled out and no time outs left. But other than that, everything turned out okay.
"It was the longest 1 second of my life," he said.
The ball banked off the glass cleanly and swirled briefly around the rim on its way through the net. Game over, as signaled by the eruption of the crowd and the flood of the Dells students onto the floor.
"The crowd was loudest I've ever heard in my life," Royston recalled. "The video doesn't do the sound justice. I was screaming as loud as I could and I couldn't hear myself. I tried to stay on feet as long as I could. People were crowding around, and I fell to the ground and they piled on top of me. I was so excited I don't think I felt any pain ....
"The whole town, everybody knows who I am," the 6-foot senior guard and UW-Oshkosh recruit said Monday evening via cell phone, his voice tinged with amazement. "People I've never met before are coming up to me and saying, "Great shot, great shot.' Some people carry on 10-minute conversations with me and I never even get their name.
Yeah, he's almost as popular as the water slides.