When I was in sixth grade I hit a game-winning 3-pointer from the same spot on the court that Kyle Henningsgard nailed his from.
The difference between the two was that his game-winner was for Hillsboro-Central Valley’s first ever Class B state title. Mine was for a first-place finish at a Grand Am tournament.
The senior guard ran off a Jack Camrud screen to the right side with under 10 seconds to play but had the basketball poked out of his right hand from behind.
Luckily, the basketball ended up in Austin Reed’s hand on the right wing.
As three Four Winds-Minnewaukan players surrounded Reed and the ball, Henningsgard stood in the corner all alone.
Reed found him and Henningsgard’s shot left his hands with 2.5 seconds left on the game clock, and with 0.9 seconds it swished through the net lifting H-CV over the Indians 63-60 in Saturday’s 2017 North Dakota Class B state tournament in Minot, N.D.
“It felt like slow motion just sitting there with that ball,” Henningsgard said about the final possession. “I knew there wasn’t much time so I had to put it up and it went down and just a roller coaster of emotions after that.”
The No. 1 seed and defending Class B champions led for most of the game and had a seven-point lead with 6:08 left in regulation but couldn’t cage the Henningsgard monster in the fourth quarter.
The senior guard finished with 15 points as 11 of them came in the fourth quarter.
He started the game 1 for 13 but connected on 4 of his final 6 baskets.
“Obviously you don’t want to give up,” Henningsgard said about his performance. “They (FW-M) are a great basketball team but I don’t know, I guess I flipped a switch or something because it was going down and I was confident.”
“Everything you dream about as a kid,” he added. “I’m just living the dream right now, it’s unreal, it doesn’t even feel real right now.”
Two days later and I still don’t believe that’s how the game ended.
It was my first time covering the Class B state tournament and I was treated like a king.
There are millions of journalists out there that would do almost anything to cover a championship game that ends on a buzzer-beater.
Big games like the Class B state tournament one can be career moving.
In the last few year’s I’ve covered two FCS championship games, two Summit League title contests and a Class B state tournament.
As my roommate said, “Pace, you are one lucky bastard.”