Epic shot gives Northstars first-ever title

Anthony DelCoro had no choice. He had to shoot.

The clock was winding down to zero, and the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team trailed Utica Proctor by two points in Sunday's Section III Class AA final. A loud, large and raucous crowd at Utica Memorial Auditorium was on its feet, most of them ready to celebrate the hometown Raiders' third sectional title in five years.

With every one of his teammates covered, and having just received the pass from Zach Coleman, DelCoro, the senior reserve who transferred from Christian Brothers Academy just before the season began, let fly with a shot from at least 25 feet out, well behind the 3-point line.

"It was a heave," DelCoro said. "I was just trying to get a shot up there."

And it didn't look too good. The shot was high and way too strong. It had no chance to go straight into the basket, or even hit the rim. As the ball hung in the air, DelCoro and nine other players -- four from CNS, five from Proctor -- waited near the basket.

"That shot was in the air forever," John Howell said.

Finally, the ball made contact with the glass to the right of the hoop, at just the perfect angle so that it could ricochet right through the net as the buzzer sounded.

Swish. Bedlam.

"I freaked out, I couldn't believe it," DelCoro said.

Name the adjective -- incredible, improbable, miraculous, unbelievable, stunning, shocking, exciting, dramatic, historic -- every one of them applied to DelCoro's bank shot that gave the Northstars a 61-60 victory and its first-ever sectional championship.

The reactions told the story. As the Proctor players froze in shock and the hometown fans went quiet, the CNS partisans went crazy- and so did the players, piling on DelCoro at midcourt. Just as happy was head coach John Haas, but even he couldn't believe it.

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