Metro-East News

There were 55 feet, 2.2 seconds and two points between them and victory. They won.

Beyond half-court shot by 7th grader wins basketball tournament

It was the championship game Sunday and Derek Plab and the 7th grade Mascoutah Braves basketball team were down. At the buzzer Derek launched the ball from more than half court. It was in, and the Mascoutah boys won the All Saints Academy Hot Hoop
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It was the championship game Sunday and Derek Plab and the 7th grade Mascoutah Braves basketball team were down. At the buzzer Derek launched the ball from more than half court. It was in, and the Mascoutah boys won the All Saints Academy Hot Hoop

It will be interesting to see what the seventh-grade boys basketball teams from Mascoutah and Bartelso do for an encore the next time they face off.

Earlier this school year, Mascoutah nipped Bartelso on a last-second layup at the buzzer for a victory at the Wesclin Shootout. With the championship of the Breese All-Saints Academy Hot Hoops tournament on the line Sunday, the teams kicked it up a notch. Mascoutah’s Derek Plab launched a 55-foot heave at the buzzer that found nothing but the bottom of the net to give the Braves the tournament championship.

“(I felt) just excitement and a little surprised, actually. It was probably one of the furthest shots I’ve ever made; it was crazy.” Plab said Monday.

The Braves were down 37-36 when they fouled a Bartelso player to stop the clock with 2.2 seconds to play. Mascoutah coach Tony Hanson called a time out to make sure his boys knew what to do.

“I wanted to ice the shooter, but I also told the boys the game was not over,” Hanson said. “We know that team well, and we know that (free-throw) shooter. We anticipated that he was going to make both free throws because he is a good shooter.

“We set up a play to make a long half-court pass and they try to get the ball to Derek on the wing for a 3-pointer. But I told them that if he missed, it was just a one-and-one and we would have to get it and go.”

The free throw was off the mark and caromed to Plab. He took two dribbles and then put all of his might behind a running shot that he launched well behind the mid-court stripe.

Plab said his friends and teammates all told him what a great shot it was — along with his family, who sent him several congratulatory texts.

“I don’t really practice (the shot), I just kind of mess around with friends and stuff,” Plab said. “It was actually the first one I made in a game, but I’ve done it in practice. I didn’t really expect it to go in; I saw it was on line, but I didn’t think it was going to go in.”

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND

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