The Last Shot

November 13, 2012
By , DeKalb, MO
The Last Shot
My ear drums pound as I hear the crowd chanting along with the cheerleaders. Sweat runs down my forehead. I look up at the score board- it reads 65 home, 62 visitors, with fifteen seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter. The bad news is that my team is the visitors.
DeKalb High School-That’s the name of our school. You’ve probably never heard of it because we are such a small school. Don’t worry, if you haven’t heard of it, trust me, you’re not the only one. Making it to state for the girls’ basketball championship is a huge deal for us. Everyone said that we wouldn’t make it. Everyone said that it couldn’t be done. Today, right now, we’re here to prove them wrong.
The girl from Staley misses her first free throw. Our crowd goes wild and shouts negative, but surprisingly clever things at her. Apparently the comments work because she misses her second one too. I jump as high as I can and barely grasp the basketball in my fingers before the Staley girl can. I look for my outlet down the court and there she is, already at the half court line. I launch the ball to her and she has to move slightly to the left to catch it. When it is safely in her hands, we make for a fast break down the court. She easily moves through the human obstacles down the court and passes it off to another post for at basket that is much too easy for a state-level game.
Our coach calls a time out and we all hustle over to our bench. We get lots of comments and the occasional pat on the back from our fellow teammates. I can hear our crowd screaming with joy over the basket just made. I turn my attention back to the huddle when our coach begins to speak and says, “Okay ladies, we’ve worked way too hard to stop here. All we need is one basket right here-I know you can do this. I don’t know about you guys, but I personally thing that it would be awesome to come home with a state championship trophy and prove everybody wrong.” We all glance at each other and know she’s right. “Come on now, right here, one last time. Run our press and trap them up top and be ready for a layup. Lady Tigers on three- one! Two! Three,” and we all finish her speech with a loud and proud, “Lady Tigers!”
As I take my position on the court, I glance up at the scoreboard- it reads nine seconds left. At this point it seems nearly impossible to get the ball in, stop them from scoring, and make a layup in that amount of time. The Staley team takes their places for their press breaker and the referee hands the ball to their three.
“Break!” As soon as she hits the ball she passes it into a guard. I run to the ball and pressure the girl as one of my teammates comes up for the trap. The girl does the most fatal thing possible-takes one dribble and picks up the ball. She’s dead now. We trap her and yell, “Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball!” All of our players block their man and don’t let them get to the ball. The girl who we trapped panics and flings the ball to one of her teammates.
Our player jumps in front of her and steals the ball. The crowd is practically jumping out of their seats at this point. The girl dribbles down the court to our basket and passes the ball off to me. The next few seconds seem to be in slow motion. I take one last look at the clock before I go in for my lay-up and it says three seconds. Just as I shoot, I feel someone slap my elbow to deflect my shot-it doesn’t matter.
Just as the buzzar rings the ball falls through the net and drops to the floor, confirming that we are state champs. The next few minutes are total chaos-I see my teammates all sprinting towards me to tackle me with joy. The crowd jumps over the railing onto the court and runs over to all of us. Just before the collage of people surrounds my team, I catch a glimpse of the crying Staley girls, some of them even dropping to their knees in despair. I realize what a horrible thing it would be to come all this way to state and lose your senior year. I also realize that the girl who passed the ball when we got the game-winning steal, is a senior (by all of the balloons her family brings her), and I know that she will never live this down. I turn to all of my friends and family and can’t help but feel how lucky I am. From now on, I will never take anything for granted-especially the feeling of making the last shot.

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