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Cameron Smith

Another Laettner-esque buzzer beater earns Minnesota headlines

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The past seven days were already going to go down as a memorable period for acrobatic buzzer beaters following the heroics of Orting (Wash.) High's Isaac Lewis. Yet the video below, from Northfield (Minn.) High's miraculous 42-40 win over Shakopee (Minn.) High, makes another thing certain: This was a great week for amazingly precise, near-full court inbounds passes.

According to some excellent camera work by Northfield News sports writer Shane Kitzman, who provided the video you see above, we can all revel in the joy of a 2-13 team knocking off a hot 9-7 squad surging toward a league title. The Raiders accomplished that feat because of one amazing shot by one of their tallest players, 6-foot-4 Jordan Bardwell, thanks to the assist of the year from Blake Finger.

In a twist of fate, the completed pass was an ironic role shift for Bardwell, who has spent the past two falls as Northfield's quarterback. The senior picked a good time to hit a shot, too; he had been held scoreless before the final bucket, which went through the net with 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock.

"I was ready to the throw the ball in, being a QB, but after getting a screen from [Alex] Robideau, I got the ball and I pulled a Christian Laettner," Bardwell told the News.

According to both the last-second star and his coach, the victory was a just result for a week of steady progress and hard work.

"The guys know how well we've been playing lately, and how hard we've been practicing," Northfield coach Mark Ensrud told the News. "To come back after a heartbreaking OT loss at Farmington Friday and win tonight was great. It's something they can remember for a long time. It was a well-deserved win."

And what about criticism that the shot was a lucky bank job? Given the efforts that Bardwell had to go to just to get the shot off, that hardly seemed to diminish its results. In fact, Kitzman may have put it in perspective best in his game story from the upset.

Not sure of bank hours these days, but at 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, they're apparently open.

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