January 27, 2011
It's a wonder that any high school sports events are still being played along the East Coast, with near constant blizzards and assorted weather-related problems. Yet teams are trekking through the snow for hardwood faceoffs, few more dramatic than an overtime game in Maine on Tuesday between Sacopee Valley (Maine) High and A.R. Gould (Maine) High.
Yet as tight a contest as the game may have been, the final score in Sacopee's eventual 57-50 victory was overshadowed by this miraculous inbounds play, which is a solid contender for freak play-of-the-year.
Video courtesy of TV-2 Community Access Television at Sacopee Valley
As you can see above, Sacopee Valley was inbounding the ball with a narrow, 41-40 lead with about two minutes remaining when passer Tyler Lyle was forced to rush to avoid a violation. Seaching for an open teammate, the junior tried to squeeze a pass between two A.R. Gould defenders to Sacopee center Jeffrey Taylor, who cut from the top of the key down toward the baseline.
Yet Taylor never got a shot at the basketball, which hit the court, took a bizarre bounce off an unsuspecting Bears defender and ricocheted directly into the net for a H-O-R-S-E-style "Did that actually happen?" bucket.
The slow-motion replay from local cable-access network TV2 Maine helps show exactly how the basketball went in, glancing high off a Gould shoulder, taking a particularly high arched trajectory and sliding through the hoop without even touching the rim. Unbelievable.
Perhaps the only thing better than the basket itself are the reactions of everyone involved. Lyle went screaming down the court, giving the universal "count it!" hand signal as fast as his arm could make it. The unlucky A.R. Gould defender responsible for the bucket immediately posed in a hand-in-the-cookie-jar posture that can only be described as "what did I do?"
Despite those priceless takes, the true scene stealer is the ref, who sits in the background and offers an open-armed "hey, that's basketball" shrug while waiting for Gould to inbound the ball. Clearly, this is a man who has worked plenty of high school hoops games in his days.