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Buzzer-Beater Season!

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Four Kansas high school basketball players talk about their game winning shots

  • Emilee Ebert, Hunter Clift and Blake Gumm each hit game winners this week. (Photos by Bree McReynolds-Baetz Photography, Bluestem Schools, Southern Cloud Schools)
    Emilee Ebert, Hunter Clift and Blake Gumm each hit game winners this week. (Photos by Bree McReynolds-Baetz Photography, Bluestem Schools, Southern Cloud Schools)

It’s mid-season tournament time and that means some of the most exciting basketball of the year with rowdy crowds and exciting match-ups. That held true this week as several games across the state came down to the wire and ended on buzzer-beaters.

A basketball buzzer-beater is one of the most thrilling sequences in all of sport and we wanted to go straight to the players to find out what all goes into sealing a win with a final shot.

Check out our Q&A with four game winners from this week along with videos of their game winning shots:

Breanna Bedore, Parsons

Parsons senior Breanna Bedore hit a three-pointer as time expired to deliver a 36-33 victory over St. Paul in the Southeast Lancer Classic Wednesday night. The Vikings beat Baxter Springs for the tournament championship Friday night.

Check out the video from KOAM TV's Jacob Lenard

 

 

Q: What's it like to make a buzzer-beater like you did Wednesday night?

A: It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced, it’s truly something I will never forget.

Q: Was the play executed as planned? Was the ball to go to you for three?

A: During the timeout our coach drew up the play and Dakiah Yates would bring the ball down and she could continue to drive to try and draw a foul, or she had me or my teammate Ally Hicks on the wing to shoot a three. So all-in-all, yes, the play was executed successfully.

Q: Do you feel pressure to score in a situation like that and is crowd noise or the atmosphere of the gym in a tight game a factor at all when trying to score the winning basket?

A: I loved the loud atmosphere. I felt really good coming out of that last timeout. My teammates and I always support each other so the pressure felt minimum.

Q: Do you plan to play basketball in college?

A: I’d love to play in college, but the sport I would play would be softball. However, basketball and volleyball are two sports that will always hold a special place in my heart for sure.

Hunter Clift, Bluestem

In one of the most exciting basketball finishes of this, or any year, Bluestem senior Hunter Clift made a shot from beyond half-court as time expired to defeat Douglass in the Wilson County Classic Monday afternoon in Neodesha. The sequence started with Clift’s teammate Garrett Korte stealing a saved out-of-bounds ball thrown back in by a Douglass player.

Check out the video from the Bluestem Basketball Twitter:

 

 

Q: What's it like to make a game winner like you did against Douglass?

A: It was crazy! It was super quiet once the ball left my hand then right when it went in everyone started screaming, and my whole team was already jumping on top of me in the middle of the court. It was one of those things you only dream of when you were a kid.

Q: When it left your hand did you think it had a chance to go in, or were you just throwing up a prayer?

A: It was a little behind half-court so I thought I had at least a decent chance at it. When it left my hand I was thinking it may hit the back of the rim but as it got closer I was like, “That’s game!”

Q: How much excitement did it add that it started with a teammate (Garrett Korte) stealing a ball that a Douglass player was trying to save from going out-of-bounds?

A: Very exciting! The only thing that was on our minds that possession was to not foul and to stop the ball, then go into overtime. I don’t think any of us thought that we’d get the ball with some time left.

Q: Have you ever made a game winning buzzer-beater before in high school?

A: Never!

Q: Do you plan to play basketball in college?

A: I’d love to, but I’m still working on it, haven’t got any offers yet. I’ve gotten a football offer from McPherson and they said I would be able to walk-on the basketball team as well, but I’m still working on getting a basketball offer.

Emilee Ebert, Frankfort

While not a buzzer-beater, Frankfort senior Emilee Ebert sealed a thrilling victory over rival Centralia in the Twin Valley League semi-finals Wednesday night sinking a basket after getting the in-bounds pass with 5.6 seconds left in the game. Frankfort went on to defeat Hanover Friday night for the TVL title. Ebert, one of this year’s Kansas Pregame Winter Sports Preview covergirls, will play Division I basketball after high school at Missouri State. Her father Brian is Frankfort’s head coach.

Check out the video from KR 92 Sports' Jesy Strnad

 

 

Q: What's it like to make a game winner like you did against Centralia?

A: Obviously making a shot like that is pretty exciting! This one was extra special though, hitting it against a solid Centralia team to make it to the TVL championship.

Q: Was the play executed as planned?

A: It was a sideline inbounds play following a timeout, and it was ran precisely as planned!

Q: Do you feel pressure to score in a situation like that and is crowd noise or the atmosphere of the gym in a tight game a factor at all when trying to score the winning basket?

A: It’s not my personality to get nervous or affected by pressure. I was so focused on the task at hand I honestly heard nothing until the buzzer and that’s when I heard the roar of the crowd.

Q: Does it add anything to go through that type of situation with your dad as your coach?

A: Oh definitely! Our games left together are numbered so anytime we can celebrate a moment like that it’s special!

Blake Gumm, Southern Cloud

Southern Cloud’s Blake Gumm nailed a three-pointer as time expired Tuesday night to down previously unbeaten Sylvan-Lucas 28-25 in the quarterfinals of the Northern Plains League Tournament in Lincoln. Southern Cloud went on to lose to St. John's Beloit-Tipton in the semi-finals, but downed Lakeside 44-34 Thursday night for third place in the tournament.

Check out the video from Kansas Pregame's Twitter, courtesy Isaac Schoen

 

 

Q: What’s it like to make a game winning buzzer-beater like you did Tuesday night?

A: It’s truly an amazing feeling. I’ve taken that shot over a thousand times and to hit that shot in that moment against the number three team in the state, it’s really a one-of-a-kind feeling. I’ve made a lot of game winners in my basketball career. This one by far has the best feeling.

Q: Do you feel pressure to score in a situation like that and is crowd noise or the atmosphere of the gym in a tight game a factor when trying to make the winning basket?

A: There is definitely pressure taking that shot. My teammates, our crowd were expecting me to hit that shot. I really don't think crowd noise is a factor while taking the last shot.

Q: Do you have an opportunity to play basketball in college?

A: Yes, I’m hoping to play at Barton or Tabor.

 

Kansas Pregame covers high school sports in the Sunflower State. Know of a great story that needs to be told? We want to hear from you! Email us the next great story or video focused on Kansas high school sports at kansaspregame@gmail.com.

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