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Written By: Jenneth LeeD
May 13, 2015
An assembly of previously unknown senior boys banded together Thursday, May 7, to form a basketball team skilled enough to face off against the expert staff at the Wilds Christian Camp in Brevard, North Carolina.
The five boys and one adult that created the makeshift basketball team came from a collection of Christian schools across North America during a week of their senior trips. Little did they know that by Thursday evening they would make the Wilds senior trip history when their teammate heaved the ball across the court to make a game-winning buzzer-beater with .2 seconds to spare.
The boys were unheard of to most high school seniors during the basketball tournament, but fans quickly assigned nicknames to each player so they could be identified, such as: 50s, Brick, Chain-Boy, Old Man, Just There, and Luigi--depending on their hair style, build, accessories, and playing time.
With only a single loss during the entire season of senior trips, the Wilds staff team, composed of Matt Herbster, Willie Partin, Joe Fant, Jordan Baun, Chris Anastos, and Matt Taylor, were already well-known to Wilds fans.
The senior boys weren't simply chosen to play against the all-stars, however; they had to earn it. Twenty-six Christian schools attended the senior trips--and many wanted to form the winning team.
Early Thursday morning, Partin made a head count of teams who wanted to participate in both a volleyball and basketball tournament. After a picnic lunch, teams hiked down to the courts to enter in the games. The goal was simple: the winner of the tournament played the Wilds staff.
That evening, fans lined the gym court in anticipation of the staff v. senior game and were not disappointed. The seniors ran about the court in a frenzy, shooting skilled no-look and backward passes to their teammates. They made exceptional interceptions, managed to defend against Herbster and Anastos's forward drives, and Luigi even completed two fast breaks against the Wilds team.
By the end of the second half, the score was tied 22-22 with only one minute left in the game. The staff's children were bouncing up and down along the sidelines, unable to contain their excitement. Senior girls rooting for the boys' team shouted coaching tips until their throats were raw, and the time-keeper had his eyes glued to the game, fingers poised over the clock's controls.
In a single blur, Luigi's hand shot out, stealing the ball from the opposite team. He charged down the court as the clock reached mere seconds. The Wilds staff grouped at the end of the court, forming an intimidating shield. Luigi heaved the ball, knowing his time was up. For a single moment, the gym's occupants held their breath.
The ball swished through the net and the buzzer sounded with only .2 seconds left to spare. The senior boys spun around, jubilant unbelief on their faces, and tackled their teammate. They lifted him high on their shoulders and jogged around the gym screaming.
The Wilds team, drenched in sweat, smiled and congratulated the boys on a fantastic game well-played.