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Big Shots No. 10

Ryan's rush

March 7, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
This is the 11th 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: Ryan Lestochi, Bishop Guilfoyle

Opponent: Juniata Valley

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 1997

Site: Tyrone Area High School gym

Setting the scene: In the District 6 Class A semifinals, BG, at 13-11, faced the 22-4 Green Hornets, who were two-time state finalists and the defending PIAA Class A state champions. Andy Simpson’s 27-foot 3-pointer gave Juniata Valley a 63-62 lead with six seconds remaining.

The shot: After a timeout and with four seconds remaining, Lestochi, who had missed six of the previous seven games due to injury, received the ball at midcourt on a halfcourt pass from Steve Miksich. With help from a Dave Dietzel screen, Lestochi turned and dribbled his way to the basket and laid the ball in at the buzzer for a 64-63 win.

Mirror excerpt from Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1997: While the dazed Green Hornets were hoping his shot would be waved off, Lestochi was at the bottom of a flesh pile following one of the better finishes in recent BG history. — Neil Rudel

(To view the entire original articles from this game, go to


—Lestochi: “Coach [Dave] Benton drew up the play. I just caught the ball, put my head down and headed toward the basket. I barely got the shot off before the buzzer sounded.’’

—Benton: “We hadn’t used that play since the season before, and the guys kind of remembered it. We had Lestochi and Josh Baker both breaking to each side, and whoever got the ball was to just drive to the basket. A big part of that was Steve Miksich’s perfect pass to Ryan.’’

Aftermath: BG went on to beat Homer-Center in the district final, 67-46, before Lestochi drilled a 17-foot jumper with two seconds left to beat Coudersport, 48-47, in the interdistrict playoffs. He then scored 27 points in a 65-55 win over Vincentian before BG’s run ended in a 56-41 loss to Sewickley Academy. Lestochi went on to play a season of pro ball in the ABA. He is currently living in Altoona with his wife, Stefanie, and three children and works in the marketing department for Sheetz, Inc.

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