Of all the ways to advance in the district playoffs, drilling a three-quarter court length buzzer beater is one of the better ones. Just ask fans of the Liberty-Benton (Ohio) High boys basketball team.
As you can see in the video above, the L-B squad found itself deadlocked at 59 with Spencerville (Ohio) High in an Ohio Division III boys basketball district semifinal. The tie was brought on by two free throws by Spencerville star Dan Binkley, leaving just 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock before the two squads headed to an apparent overtime to decide the fate of their season.
If there were any doubts that overtime was in the cards, these seemed to be assuaged by the pressure put on Liberty-Benton as the team struggled to inbounds the ball following the made free throws. None of the guards one would expect to receive the ball were open. In fact, no one was open.
No one except John Darnall, that is. A sophomore, Darnall had not hit a 3-pointer in the entirety of the 2011-12 season. Not one. And he was standing 10 feet behind midcourt.
With no other options, Darnall got the ball. With no other options, he let fly with as deep a three-pointer as you'll ever see. He hit it, giving L-B a 62-59 victory in the process.
"In 31 years [of coaching], I have not had one like that go down," Liberty-Benton coach Steve Williman told the Lima News. "So maybe I was due."
If Williman was due a bomb of a shot, that was a heck of a time to collect. In fact, the bucket was so incredible that even Spencerville's coaching staff reflected in pure wonderment on the game as a whole rather than the disappointment that a hard-fought comeback failed to earn an overtime shot.
"When they couldn't get it deep, I was thinking overtime. And then the kid hits a three-quarter court shot," Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh told the News. "It's a difficult way to lose, especially for your seniors. It was a tough way to lose but it was a great basketball game."