A mix of adrenaline, euphoria and disbelief, it can feel like an out-of-body experience.
Improbably, Masters' varsity and junior varsity 1 (JV1) programs witnessed this rare event multiple times last week.
Daniel Medina ’22 came up clutch for the varsity team, sinking a miraculous 70-foot shot as the halftime horn sounded in a stunning 49-48 victory over host Wooster School on January 20. Adam Bello ’24 then capped it off with a game-winning bucket late in regulation. Arjun Ratan ’24 delivered for the JV1 squad, draining a game-winning 3-pointer from the corner with two seconds left as the Panthers edged visiting Léman Manhattan, 52-49, on January 18.
On a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, Medina's shot was easily an 11. He set the entire sequence in motion by grabbing a defensive rebound and instinctively turned up court before releasing an epic prayer high into the air.
"When (Wooster) shot the ball in the final seconds (of the half), everyone just stood still and no one went toward the ball," Medina said of the play. "I knew that I could get the rebound and just throw the ball down the court. As soon as I released the ball, I knew that it had the right aim to it. It was just a matter of how much power was on the shot. The ball went in so perfectly that from an on-court perspective it looked like an airball."
It wasn't the first time Medina has pulled off a Dude Perfect-esque shot. He converted a couple of long-range buzzer-beaters in middle school, however, his latest was easily from the furthest distance.
"When I'm at the courts with my friends, we usually shoot around at half court, but never from the opposite free-throw line," Medina said.
More importantly, Medina's clutch moment was instrumental in powering Masters to a comeback victory. The Panthers trailed by 10 points at the half but rode Medina's momentum over the final two quarters of action.
"The shot brought the team's spirits up and we made an even bigger run during the second half," Medina said. "At the end of the game, we ended up winning the game by one point. You could say if I didn't make the full-court shot, the end result would have been different."
Bello made sure Medina's momentous shot was not in vain, executing a perfect floater in the lane for the game-winner. He sprung free after teammates Noah Kassell-Yung ’23 and Leo Becker ’24 set a pair of screens, swooping into the lane before beating the final defender.
"I knew it was going in," said Bello, who also credited Medina's defensive intensity to spur on the comeback. "I have shot that type of shot (a floater) 2,000 times before and I was sure that was going in."
Ratan's shot, meanwhile, sent the Fonseca Center crowd into a frenzy. He deflected some of the praise toward Tozai Kawabata ’25, who set Ratan up with a dribble-drive and kick out pass. Ratan also gave a shout out to Nathan Lothian ’24, who sealed the win by stealing the ensuing Léman inbounds pass.
"Tozai was dribbling the ball up the court and he had been playing really well," said Ratan, who noted the defense collapsed on Kawabata to leave him open in the corner. "I shot the ball and I wouldn’t say (I knew) it was going in, but it felt like a good shot."
VIDEO: Diego Medina's 70-foot buzzer-beater and Adam Bello's game-winning floater
Above video shot by Javier Medina P’18,’22,’23
VIDEO: Arjun Ratan's game-winning 3-pointer
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