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Glory Days: A Buzzer-Beater In 1.9 Seconds, Just Like We Drew It Up

An occasional series featuring our readers' tales of momentary sports glory. If you've got a video of your own brush with athletic greatness, send it to, subject: Glory Days.

This story comes to us from Al Renner, the head basketball coach at University High School in Urbana, Ill. It's about a playoff game played just this past February, the end of which you can see above:

This was our first-round regional game against Heritage (Broadlands). We were the 3 seed and they were the 6 so there was a little bit of an upset in the making. The beginning of the video is a little off; we were actually down 66-61 with 10.1 seconds left. We were also down 10 at one point in the fourth quarter but narrowed the gap, and there was no play drawn for the first guy who hit the 3. After they missed both free throws, I asked for 2.6 to be left on the clock; the ref said 2.2, but they mysteriously only put up 1.9.

The last-second play we went over probably 20 times that week and a couple times at the walk through before the game. The guy who hits the shot, Patrick Wong, sets a screen for the guy who catches the pass, and then after setting the screen he comes through a double to get open in the corner. This was my first year coaching and I have to admit bad thoughts started to creep into my mind for a second, because this was a senior-led team and we weren't supposed to lose to Heritage. In fact, the only non-senior on varsity is the guy who hits the shot. We'd always put 3 seconds on the clock in practice for that play and it was still barely enough to get it off. I've hand-timed it about 10 times and I keep getting 2.1 seconds, just enough for what the ref told me there should have been.

The guys came through under pressure all year long. We had three buzzer-beaters this year, and this was the second for Patrick—ice flows through his veins. It was the best game I've ever been a part of and when he hit it, the one ref who had dogged us all game didn't want to call it [good], but I looked over at the head ref who put his hands in the air and I went nuts. I felt like Jimmy V running around the court looking for someone to hug. Anyways, sorry for the novel I just wrote you—that game still gets me pumped up.


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