Basketball tournaments are made for high drama, and with high school tournaments ratcheting into high gear, some of the late-game heroics more traditionally associated with NCAA March Madness are starting to pop up a level below.
Case in point: The Florida Class 2A girls basketball title game, where Florida A&M University (Fla.) High knocked off Hollywood (Fla.) Christian School, 55-53, with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from one of the Baby Rattlers' least likely shooters: Power forward Lekaris Salter.
As you can see in the video above, Salter not only fired the game-winning shot from the top of the arc, she also found a way to bring the ball all the way down the court unimpeded and get the shot off. In fact, doing that in the final 5.9 seconds as swiftly as she did was a miracle in its own right. After all, Salter isn't exactly a player who usually runs the floor as quickly as her teammates who were all guarded on that final possession.
For her part, Salters told the Lakeland Ledger she was confident about that final shot, in part because she thought of former Florida prep star turned Duke freshman Austin Rivers, who nailed a memorable game-winner against North Carolina earlier in February.
"What was going through my head was last year I had a chance for a game-winning shot against Rickards [and missed]," Salter told the Ledger. "Then I thought about Austin Rivers and the shot against North Carolina. Then, I just ran and everyone tackled me and I couldn't breathe."
When Salter finally did come up to breathe, she could do so a lot easier knowing that she had earned her squad a state title that seemed certain to slip away just moments before. Salter finished with a game-high 25 points and 18 rebounds but had none in the fourth quarter … until she nailed the biggest deep shot of her career.
"A big time player made a big-time shot, that's the bottom line," said Hollywood Christian coach Carlos Adamson. "When it left her hand, I knew it was good."
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