It may not be "Hoosiers," but it's about as close as you can get in modern-day scholastic athletics. On Tuesday night, a plucky underdog from a school of just 200 kids beat a state powerhouse with an enrollment of 1,450, and it did so with a healthy dose of fortitude and one huge clutch bucket from an oft overlooked sweet-shooting senior.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville (Ky.) Collegiate School's 45-43 upset over St. Xavier (Ky.) School was punctuated by "the shot heard round Louisville." With just seconds remaining in a tie game between the 25th District top-seed Tigers and also-rans Collegiate, the Titans got the ball inbounds and ran a play for captain Harris Levine, who put up a 14-foot jumper as the buzzer sounded. As you can see above, the reaction to the made bucket couldn't have been more emphatic if Gene Hackman had been playing the role of Harris' coach.
Unfortunately for Hackman, that role is already taken by Tim Williams, who drew up the play for Levine and helped lead Collegiate to what is easily the biggest victory in school history, if not in the history of all high school basketball in Louisville.
"Coming from a school with only 200 kids in the high school, it's like you never even dream of going up against the big guys," Levine told the Courier-Journal. "Now, beating them is just unreal."
It certainly counts as the city's biggest upset when you consider the history both teams brought into the matchup; while St. Xavier is considered an annual state-tournament contender, Collegiate had never even won a district game since it became a co-ed school 31 years ago. By dint of that ignominious stat, the Titans have entered each and every annual district tournament as the No. 4 seed in a four-team event, forced to compete with three schools which all boast enrollments more than 12 times the size of Collegiate.
"Not a lot of people know about us as a basketball team, and I think they're a little bit surprised about us coming out and playing so tough against St. X," Williams told the Courier-Journal. "But I'm not surprised at all, and our guys aren't surprised, either."
When asked if Levine's make was the biggest shot in school history, Williams had a hard time trying to recollect any other baskets that would even be candidates.
"As far as I know [it's the biggest shot in school history]," Williams told the Courier-Journal. "It is for me.
"I thought they wouldn't foul going to the basket, and [Levine is] our best guy doing that."
While the victory won't be forgotten by Kentucky high school hoops fans anytime soon, Collegiate's Cinderfella run came to a quick end on Thursday, when the Titans were overwhelmed by Louisville Male (Ky.) High 57-30.
As stark as that setback may have been, there's little question that Louisville Collegiate fans will get more satisfaction out of a 16-13 record than any other team hovering near the .500 mark, particularly given the circumstances surrounding its penultimate game. With any luck, the Titans might even have a surprise left in them for the Seventh Region tournament next week, when they'll be competing as the 25th District runners-up.
St. Xavier's coach, for one, clearly wouldn't be surprised with anything that Collegiate accomplishes from here out.
"They're physical and scrappy," St. X coach Kevin Klein said. "They played with nothing to lose, and we played to lose. They got the majority of the 50-50 balls and played with tremendous heart and desire."
- Tim Williams