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July 18, 2012Two minutes left in a tense Wednesday afternoon matchup between Team Scan and Boo Williams the entire game stopped.
Breathing it back to life was unbreakable Shavar Newkirk of Cardinal Hayes High School (Bronx, NY). The junior buried two clenching free throws with 0.1 seconds left, breaking a 52-52 tie.
"Yes, I practice free throws every day, at night, and in game situations," said Newkirk. "One free to tie or one free throw to win the game."
Well, technically the game didn't stop, nor did the game clock. Rather Boo Williams AAU stopped attacking and simply held the ball out high as the clock dwindled.
Team Scan (NYC) forced an errant shot with a few seconds remaining. As the ball tumbled out of bounds the official signalled Team Scan basketball.
Team Scan Head Coach Terrance Williams decided upon a play in the ensuing timeout.
"It was a designed play for the shooter, but it didn't turn out that way so I took upon myself to win the game," said Shavar Newkirk.
Newkirk dribbled the length of the floor, absorbing significant contact, and forced a shot up. His attempt coincided with the critical whistle. Newkirk stepped to the line with the game on the line.
"Why would I be nervous, it's basketball? I go out there and do what I do well."
In those tense moments you need a player that can win. It isn't always the most talented player (which Newkirk is) or the biggest body (which Newkirk is not) that decides your fate.
It can be the bravest man, the player most willing to fail. Wednesday night Newkirk took that chance, made that drive, and won the game.
"I am not tall, so I have to play with my heart and do whatever it takes to stay on the court and prove I am worthy enough to play in the big games."