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Big Shots No. 8

It 'Izz' in time

March 9, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
This is the 13th in a 20-day series on the biggest shots in Blair County high school basketball over the last 50 years. The Mirror is counting down one per day until Sunday, March 16.

—Buck Frank



Player: Mike Iuzzolino, Bishop Guilfoyle

Opponent: Bishop Boyle

Date: Saturday, March 17, 1984

Site: Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse

Setting the scene: Iuzzolino, a sophomore, missed two District 6-AA playoff games with an ankle injury, then Guilfoyle lost to Bishop McCort in the district final on a controversial call. In the first round of interdistricts, Bishop Boyle led by as many as 11 late in the third quarter before BG pulled even, 64-64, in the final seconds.

The shot: After Tony Koehle blocked a Bishop Boyle shot with 10 seconds remaining, BG’s Mike Luciano retrieved the ball and then, heading toward the basket, fired up a desperation shot in front of the midcourt line. When the ball bounced off the glass, Iuzzolino, who had raced down court, grabbed it and scooped it up underhanded off the backboard and into the basket at the buzzer.

Mirror excerpt from Monday, March 19, 1984: Iuzzolino’s unbelievable bucket climaxed a series of three solid efforts that left Guilfoyle followers ecstatic. — Frank Polito

(To view the entire original article from this game, go to altoonamirror.com.)

Memories:

—Iuzzolino: “I just remember catching it off the backboard, and it really wasn’t a shot — I just kind of heaved it up there.’’

—Luciano: “I fell to the ground in exhaustion after I heaved the ball and never saw the ball go in. But I did end up at the bottom of a pile with a bloody lip.’’

—Tom Lane, coach: “I recall my dad [Don] jumping up and down in the stands behind me, yelling, ‘We pulled it out! We pulled it out!’’’

Aftermath: BG fell to District 7 champ Washington, 73-61, in the second round of interdistricts. Iuzzolino later starred at Altoona High and St. Francis College and played two seasons for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks before enjoying a successful pro basketball career in Italy. He currently is an assistant women’s basketball coach at George Mason University.

Have a memorable shot? E-mail bfrank@altoonamirror.com.

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