In the annals of game-winning high school buzzer beaters, few are stranger than the one turned in by Torrington (Conn.) High School's Sarah Royals, who found a way to earn her team a win despite its three-point deficit with just four seconds left before the miracle play off the inbounds, as you can see below.
To set the scene surrounding the video above, which was provided and edited by Jennifer Royals and shot by Paul Caron, Torrington trailed Northwestern Connecticut rival Waterbury (Conn.) Holy Cross High, 58-55, with just four seconds left. With Holy Cross employing a full-court press, Torrington inbounded the ball to Royals, who cut toward the baseline to create an opening in the defense. The senior pushed the ball up to midcourt, racing past defenders, before hoisting up a desperation heave that was nearly underhanded from a stride inside the halfcourt circle.
The fact that Royals even got a shot off was a minor miracle, considering the fact that she was clearly off balance and nearly falling or traveling before she put it up. Yet the leading scorer in the Nagautuck Valley-Copper league got up the last-second effort and even earned a foul while doing so, ensuring that she would get a chance to tie the game from the free-throw line with no time remaining.
Instead, Royals got a chance to give the Red Raiders a huge victory, after she and her teammates watched her miracle shot bank in at the buzzer. With 0:00 on the scoreboard, Royals walked to the charity stripe and stroked a game-winner with ease, holding her follow through aloft while sending Torrington fans into delirium. The 59-58 victory also avenged the Raiders' only loss of the season, a 50-44 setback in late December.
"I was just trying to go big or go home," Royals told the Waterbury Republican-American. "I don't practice half-court shots. I was hoping to maybe get fouled and get three foul shots. Sometimes you get lucky."
Holy Cross coach Frank Lombardo agreed that the shot required some luck, yet he also placed significant blame for the loss at the feet of his own team, which failed to keep itself out of Royals path at the buzzer.
For his part, Torrington coach Mike Fritch was as stunned as anyone that the shot would go in during any game, let alone a heated league match with huge playoff ramifications.
"Talk about having God on my side," Fritch told the Republican-American. "How the heck did we do that? We got lucky; how does that ball go in? I've never seen this in my career."
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