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Cameron Smith

Meet Gunnar Swager, aptly-named 'Hoosiers' style hoops star

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It's March, and everyone wants to find their local 'Hoosiers' moment. The closest thing Washington state will see to one may have come Friday, a furious final minute victory born of the hand of what may be the most appropriately named clutch hoops playmaker in history.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Gunnar Swager. The North Central (Wash.) High star scored twice in the closing seconds of a game against Kamiakin to lead his Indians to the Class 3A state quarterfinals. Both plays were wildly inventive drives to the hoop, as you can see above, and had his coach, teammates and fans in delirium.

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"It was really tough, but we knew we still had time left on the clock," North Central senior Zac Hill told the Spokesman-Review. "We don't quit until the time's over so we just went. ... Gunnar got the ball and I knew something was going to happen. When he has the ball he's automatic. He makes clutch plays."

What made this such a Hoosiers moment? In addition to the frantic finish, both North Central and Kamiakin fit the Hickory vs. South Bend prototype. While both schools are in the same size classification, North Central entered the game with an 11-12 overall record; Kamiakin was 20-1, ranked No. 3 in the state at the time of tip-off.

And just as Jimmy Chitwood is a picture perfect rural Indiana name for a plucky scorer, even it can't come closer to Gunnar Swager. If that isn't a Name of the Year contender, we're not sure what is.

While he may not have a Division I basketball future, Swager is no everyday athlete, either. The speedy shooter earns more headlines as a track star, specializing in the 300 meter hurdles and 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays.

Like most high school hoopsters, he's obsessed with rap and, from the look of his relatively inactive Twitter feed, has a pretty keen sense of humor.

He also has a heck of a name, and a knack for making the biggest shots count. If fate has its way, we're confident he'll be in a state champion medal by the end of the weekend. After all, how can you bet against someone named Gunnar Swager?

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