Nearly 26 years ago, Duke star Christian Laettner hit a shot off of a long Grant Hill pass that lives in NCAA Tournament lore.
That improbable play from 1992 happened roughly a decade, give or take, before either Rhyle McKinney or Gabby Standifer were even born. But yet, Tuesday night, the Argyle (Texas) girls basketball players pulled off a great impression of the famous buzzer beater.
Off a long pass from Standifer, McKinney hit a shot at the horn to earn Argyle a 65-63, double-overtime over Lincoln (Dallas) in a Class 4A Region II quarterfinal.
The Dallas Morning News tells the story, while Twitter user Tammy Hogeboom (@thogeboom) caught the moment on camera.
With 2.2 seconds on the clock, the Fresno State-bound Standifer threw a pass the length of the court from under her team’s basket. While Laettner was more or less stationary on the play that beat Kentucky, McKinney sprinted to catch up to the pass. The ball bounced, hitting McKinney in stride. She grabbed it, shot, and buried the shot from just outside the free throw line.
And the celebration was on.
The Morning News asked Argyle coach Chance Westmoreland Wednesday if McKinney’s shot reminded him of Laettner’s.
“Not at the time, but then somebody told me our radio crew, that’s what they were saying on the radio.”
Per the Morning News, three-time defending 4A state champion Argyle (30-7) got the ball after a charge was called on Lincoln star Kennedy Taylor. The Texas State-bound Taylor fouled out on that play, giving Argyle time to draw up a play without being forced to call a timeout.
“When you foul out, they get 30 seconds,” Westmoreland said. “I didn’t use a timeout. I just called them over to the huddle and basically said, ‘The main thing we want to do here is get the ball in and not have a turnover. Worst case, we’re going to the third overtime and their best player just fouled out.”
While Westmoreland originally drew the play up for freshman Sydney Standifer, it was McKinney who broke deep and got behind the defense like on a Hail Mary play in football.
“It’s just one of those plays,” Westmoreland told the Morning News. “You don’t really practice those, but they sure look good when they work out.”
Laettner’s shot in 1992 gave Duke a 104-103 win over Kentucky in overtime, propelling the Blue Devils to a second straight NCAA title. Argyle will look to similarly use a last-second shot as a springboard.