LYNCHBURG — It was an unlikely finish more fitting for an ESPN Sportscenter highlight reel than a typical Tennessee high school playoff game. A simple search for Nashville Christian School Buzzer Beater on YouTube shows that nearly 5,000 people have sought out and watched the ending to Moore County’s Region 5-A contest against the Eagles.
It was just that bizarre.
Trailing by one point with less than 4.6 seconds remaining in the contest, Nashville Christian’s Zell Walker grabbed a missed Moore County free throw and pushed the ball up to teammate Zac Varner who tossed up an off balance one-handed shot over his head some 26 feet from the basket.
The shot wasn’t close. But Mickey Martin was. Martin slipped behind the Moore County defense, plucked the ball out of the air five feet from the basket and in one motion laid it in off the glass as time expired, lifting the Eagles to a 54-53 win over Moore County.
The bucket sent a wave of deafening silence throughout the MCHS gymnasium. Some — however few — thought the buzzer beater wasn’t released in time. But there was really little doubt. Martin caught it with .2 seconds on the clock and released it at .1.
“There was no doubt,” said Moore County head coach Lavon King. “He got it off in time.”
Just in the nick of time. As soon as the ball trickled through the finely knotted twine, the referee signaled good, signaling the end of the Raiders’ season in the process.
Moore County’s players — in particular five seniors Doran Noble, Ryan Northcutt, Jordan Barrier, Blydge Farrar and James Dougherty — stared in disbelief.
The Raiders lost a game they seemingly had in the bag. Despite trailing 38-37 with 6:39 left to play, a quick spurt by the Raiders helped Moore County to a seven-point lead with 2:30 remaining. But Walker pulled up and sank a long three-pointer — his fourth of the game — and MCHS turned the ball over on its next possession, which led to another Eagles’ score.
For more on the Raiders’ final game of the season. See the March 5 print edition of The Moore County News.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor & Publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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