DD was in 8th grade and a starter on the girls basketball team at “Central”, her Lutheran grade school. It was the end of the basketball season and they were in the tournament for the championship of the Lutheran grade school league.
The team they were playing that Sunday afternoon was their nemesis, Flatrock, a team who always seemed to be able to find a way to beat Central.
And it looked like today wasn’t going to be any different. Flatrock was up by one point, there were 6 seconds left in the game, and Central had just fouled, so a Flatrock player was at the free throw line.
As the teams lined up on either side of the free throw line preparing for the Flatrock girl to “go through the motions” — after all, even if she missed, Flatrock was still up by one — DD was standing across from her friend, Stacey, who began to cry! That made DD mad. She thought, “Stacey’s given up!” Well, Stacey could be forgiven for “giving up” — after all, things looked pretty bleak! But, that really stiffened DD’s resolve — she didn’t want to lose to Flatrock in this last game she would ever play against them in her last year at Central, before going on to high school! So, with adrenalin flowing, she said what happened in the next six seconds felt like it was all in slow motion.
The Flatrock player missed the free throw and the ball bounced off the backboard back toward the free throw line.
DD stepped into the lane and grabbed the ball.
No time to pass to a guard.
DD turned and ran as fast as she could while dribbling the ball (who knew she could run AND dribble — she was a forward!) the length of the court. She said later that as she ran past the bench she could see her coach, normally calm Mr. Miller, out of the corner of her eye jumping up and down, yelling, “Go, Go, GO!”
When she arrived at the other end she threw up the ball, and immediately the buzzer sounded.
Time was up.
But the ball was still rolling around the rim . . . and then it dropped through. Score!
Central had beaten Flatrock by one point!
This game, of course, wasn’t played in front of a crowd of “thousands” but the gym bleachers were full of Central and Flatrock fans, so it was a big enough crowd to make it really exciting when the game was over, when the Central fans cheered and all ran down onto the floor to congratulate their team! At the time I thought, “I wonder if this is a little like what it feels like to win a state championship?!” It was awesome!
I said to Hubby after the game, “No matter how much basketball DD plays in the future, even if she never plays another game, she will always have this game to remember.” And so do we.
Fortunately, four years later we did get to find out what it is like to win a state championship! DD was a starter on her high school basketball team when they won the state basketball championship in front of over 15,000 fans.
Needless to say, the state title win was wonderful and exciting for all of us, but even so, that miraculous shot that won a Sunday afternoon 8th grade basketball game still holds a special place in our hearts.
Note: This post was inspired by the fact that Mr. Miller now coaches the local Lutheran high school team which won their first state title last night! Congratulations, Cadets … and Mr. Miller!
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