It took two tries and some clock controversy, but Berlin (Ohio) Hiland High finally converted the Christian Laettner-style buzzer-beater it had apparently been practicing throughout the season.
When New Philadelphia (Ohio) Tuscarawas Central Catholic took a 43-42 lead on an off-balance Michael Teater layup with 2.2 seconds left in a district semifinal game, Hiland coach Mark Schlabach didn't panic.
And when Central's Alex Milleman deflected Jordan Yoder's inbound attempt out of bounds at the far end of the sideline, leaving just 1.2 seconds on the clock, Schlabach still didn't panic. Instead, the Hiland coach replaced Yoder with Brennan Coil, and called the same play from the far sideline. It worked. Coil found Todd Ropp with a three-quarter court entry pass, and the senior converted a twirling 19-footer for the 43-42 victory. The two attempts occur at the 1:49 and 3:03 marks of the YouTube video above.
"I know you won't believe me if I told you, but yes, we (practice that play)," Hiland coach Mark Schlabach told FridayNightOhio.com, which provided all the game details. "Everything has to go right and you have to get really lucky. You just have to go get the ball, and (Ropp) did. He just made a great play."
Ropp's game-winner did not come without controversy. The clock struck 0.0 on two occasions -- after Teater's layup and following Milleman's deflection -- and both times the referees put time back on the clock. While Tuscarawas Central Catholic supporters took umbrage with the clock management, Chaise Gerber, who led Hiland to a state title as a senior in 2012, broke it down nicely on YouTube
It appears TCC might have a beef once you add up the fractions of a second lost in translation, but Gerber's point is a good one: It's remarkable the refs were even within one-hundredth of a second on all three whistles -- the timeout call, the deflection and the game-winning shot.
Regardless, a remarkable shot by Todd Ropp, even if he's really done it before in practice.