It may not have come from halfcourt, but a buzzer beater in Tupelo, Miss., still might be one of the year's best. Just to make the whole experience even more impressive, the shot capped a furious rally that saw the Tupelo (Miss.) High Golden Wave close with a 13-point rally within the game's final four minutes.
The shot you see just after the 55-second mark above -- sent in to Prep Rally by loyal blog follower and Tupelo public address announcer Braden Bishop -- followed two missed free throws by Tupelo guard Deontaye Ewing that would have pushed the Golden Wave into a 72-72 tie with Starkville (Miss.) High. After Ewing missed the first of the duo he had to miss the second to give Tupelo any chance of the tie.
He did, and absolute madness broke out, with a Tupelo player eventually chasing down the ensuing loose ball, finding a way to keep toes inbounds near the left sideline and sliding a pass to senior teammate Chris Brooks just outside the arc. That's when Brooks elevated for one of the most acrobatic 3-pointers we've ever seen as the buzzer sounded. Final score: Tupelo 73, Starkville 72.
"It wasn’t necessarily called for me," Brooks told NEMS360.com. "I guess I became the open man. When I took the shot it was a regular shot, but the dude (Starkville defender) jumped out and so I had to try to dodge him.
"After I let it go, I just had to keep my form up and follow through."
The final heroics left Starville stunned by Tupelo's comeback. The Yellowjackets broke open a tight game in the second quarter, extending to nine-point leads at the end of both the second and third quarters. That advantage swelled halfway through the final period, with Tupelo fans forced to watch a game that appeared to be getting away from their team.
Then, bit-by-bit, the Wave brought itself back into the game, closing to within eight points with 90 seconds left. Following a trio of defensive stops, Shane Butler hit a 3-pointer, Ewing hit a pair of free throws and Rashon Coleman also connected on two shots from the charity stripe to pull the Wave within the 72-70 score that preceeded the game's wild final moments.
"I thought for 30 minutes we pretty much controlled the game," Starkville coach Greg Carter told NEMS360.com. "And for the last two minutes, they pretty much outplayed us."
Those sentiments from Carter certainly seem accurate, though they might have been far less painful if it wasn't for one heck of a shot at the final buzzer.