The idea was to recognize some of the biggest shots in Blair County high school basketball over the last 50 years.
The original thought was to highlight five, maybe 10.
But after consulting with many former and current coaches and several other area basketball historians, the list of memorable shots continued to grow. It didn’t seem that just 10 would do the subject justice.
Eventually it was decided to trim the big list to 20, and that’s what we are presenting beginning today with Bill Huber’s midcourt shot against Williamsburg in 1960. (See below).
For the next 19 days, the Mirror will be highlighting one shot per day, counting down to the final one on Sunday, March 16 — the day after the PIAA state championships at the Bryce Jordan Center. The shots will also be featured on the Mirror’s Web site, altoonamirror.com, along with the original articles from those games.
To help trim the list to 20, some criteria was used. The shots had to either win a game or send it into overtime in the final 15 seconds of regulation or an overtime period.
Several Blair County players hit key free throws in the closing seconds of big games, beginning with Altoona’s Dick Lynch in a 1958 playoff win over Charleroi and including Altoona’s Samantha Reimer and Claysburg-Kimmel’s Lacey Claar in the last few seasons, but they will not be included in these 20. Those may be a subject for another day.
The final list includes midcourt heaves, baseline jumpers, 3-pointers, three-point plays, coast-to-coast layups and other types of shots. Most of them are from playoff games but, such as Huber’s, big regular-season games are included.
Some that just missed out on the final list will be mentioned after the series. If anyone has a favorite that didn’t make the list, please e-mail a synopsis to me at the address below, and it will be considered for inclusion.
The most difficult part was trying to put the shots in some kind of order. How can you really compare one to another? Some of the factors used were the time remaining, the quality of the opponent, the score when the shot was taken, the degree of difficulty of the shot, the impact of the shot, the atmosphere of the game, the subplots surrounding the shot and how memorable it still is.
We know not every reader will agree with the 20 or their order. We think, though, you’ll agree they’re all significant moments in Blair County basketball history.
Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.