High schooler hits full court game winner to advance in state tournament

Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time. Central Christian’s Josh Clanton knows a thing or two about that after hitting an incredible full court buzzer beater to keep his team alive in the state tournament. 

Down one point with less than a second remaining, Clanton grabbed the board after an intentionally missed free throw and hurled the ball the length of the floor. And it went in. The crowd went nuts and an Arlington player (dark jersey) immediately died on the court.

Even before the second free throw is shot, you can tell who’s gonna grab the board and score. Clanton just looks ready. He could go toe-to-toe with the nation’s top recruits his age:

Arlington’s player isn’t really dead, but the change from tantalizing ecstasy of certain victory to the acute agony of defeat was too much for him to process on the court. Like when you run cold water on a hot glass fresh out the dishwasher, sometimes that sucker might break. Can’t go from hot to cold too quick or bad things happen.

Can’t blame the poor kid for losing it out there, that shot was one in a million. Probably more like one in 50 but still – amazing. Sports are perhaps the only place you can see the whole spectrum of human emotions without real consequences. The unadulterated joy of Central Christian’s players and fans is magic. They’ll remember that moment for the rest of their lives. And the crushing weight of defeat for Arlington’s players is equally visceral and evocative.

The sting of defeat will fade, as will the thrill of victory, but those first few seconds after the game ended are why we play. Sports are an analog for the life or death decisions humans evolved to make. Most people don’t have to hunt game to eat, or conversely, worry about being eaten anymore. We live (for the most part) in enclaves of security and privilege but our brains haven’t kept pace with the rapid improvements in quality of life over the past few generations.

When humans used to “lose” – that was it. Dead. Now when you lose, it just feels like you’re dying.