Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart didn’t need a heart-stopping buzzer beater in Thursday’s semifinal win over Marine City Cardinal Mooney, but the boys’ team did Wednesday night to win the Class D regional final, 50-47, over Fulton. The highlight was so astounding it’s been a YouTube sensation and made ESPN Sports Center’s top play of the day.
With 0.08 seconds left on the clock and a tie score, senior Brooks Hyble inbounded the ball from near half court. The intent was getting the ball near the basket as there was barely time for a potential tip in. Hyble’s pass intended for Kevin Gamble went long, hit the backboard high, bounced outside the three-point line, all without being touched by any player, so by rule the clock never started. In an act of desperation, senior Dustin Neyer grabbed the loose ball and flung it almost simultaneously toward the basket and it hit the backboard, again.
This time the ball hit the rim, bounced on the front edge and dropped through the net.
“I was very shocked,” Neyer said about no one touching the ball. “I think everyone was surprised and weren’t paying attention, sort of froze. As soon as I got it I thought I better shoot it.”
Neyer and Hyble were both at the girl’s game at Breslin, Thursday, where their unplanned play was still causing a buzz.
“We’ve drawn that up in practice before and it’s never worked,” Hyble said. “I’ve always thrown it too short, so this time I wanted to get it there, and I threw it too hard, but somehow it worked out.
“When I saw it hit the backboard I thought, ‘okay, we’re going into overtime, no big deal.’ I looked away for one second and then looked back and saw the ball go up and hit the rim, and I thought, ‘wait, that has a chance.’ It was just crazy.”
Runner-up pairing: Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart and Marine City Cardinal Mooney share in common Class D state runner up titles, Cardinal Mooney from 2009, and Sacred Heart in 2008. Even more coincidental, both teams lost to New Lothrop in the final game.
Neither program has won the state championship, but Sacred Heart will get its chance when it faces another undefeated team, Crystal Falls Forest Park, Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.
Sister Act: Five sisters from the Theut family have all played basketball for Marine City Cardinal Mooney, and four of the five have played in the Class D final four. The last of the five playing under the leadership of head coach Susan Everhart is senior guard Katie Theut. She led her team with 19 points and nine rebounds in the semifinal lose to Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart.
Playing prior to Katie were oldest sister Amanda, followed by Sammy, Allie, and Sarah. Sammy is a current assistant coach on the team. All but Amanda’s teams reached the semifinals.
Marine City’s Torey family has Julia on this year’s squad, and her older sister, Rachel, reached the girls final four with the 2008-09 teams, and brother Drew made it to the boys finals in 2010.
“The girls on this year’s team have not been in the final four before, but they were in the stands for sure, watching their older sisters,” Everhart said before the game. “We have a lot of kids who have come up watching – and for those families, there aren’t many kids that can say they ever got here, let alone four out of five or three-for-three.”
Missing Miss Basketball: When Lexi Gussert went to the bench with four fouls late in the third quarter, Crystal Falls Forest Park senior Samantha Nylund was one of the Trojans that kept her cool and kept the game close. With 25 seconds remaining in the third she drove the lane halfway, stopped and popped in a jumper like she’d done it a thousand times.
“Being a post player I don’t really take shots (like that) but I definitely saw the open lane and I wanted to take the opportunity since we didn’t have one of our key players in, and hopefully help the team out,” Nylund said, about tying the score at 32-32.
“Sam came through with some big, big plays down the stretch,” said coach Jeff Syrjanen. “She hit a couple buckets right when Lexi was out and played some great defense and got some rebounds. She did a terrific job for us.”