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Big Shots No. 13

From the rafters

March 4, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
This is the eighth 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: Chris DiRoma, Bellwood-Antis

Opponent: Williamsburg

Date: Thursday, March 8, 1979

Site: Bishop Guilfoyle High School gymnasium

Setting the scene: Bellwood entered the District 6 Class A semifinals with a 14-14 record after starting the year 1-7. Williamsburg was 16-13 after an 0-7 start.

The shot: Bellwood trailed, 71-69, with four seconds left in regulation and Williamsburg at the free-throw line. After a missed foul shot, DiRoma raced upcourt and fired up a shot from one step over midcourt. The ball may have brushed the ceiling, according to some eyewitness accounts, and banked in at the buzzer to send the game to its first overtime. Later, in the second overtime, Bellwood won, 85-83, on Don Erickson’s foul shots.

Mirror excerpt from Friday, March 9, 1979: But DiRoma, putting a fitting end to an incredible performance, rescued the Devils with his halfcourt crowd-exploder. — Neil Rudel

(To view the entire original article of this game, go to


—DiRoma: “Nowadays, that shot would be a 3-pointer and would have won the game. I remember when if left my hands, I thought it had a shot at reaching the basket, and it banked in.’’

—Galen Bickel, coach: “It was a legitimate on-the-run shot from midcourt.’’

—Don Appleman, opposing coach: “We lost, but you had to tip your hat to Bellwood. It was just a fun game to watch.’’

Aftermath: After DiRoma’s heroics, which also included a game-high 30 points, Bellwood fell to Conemaugh Valley, 72-70, in the district final the very next night at BG. DiRoma, who has a daughter attending Penn State University and two sons, currently lives in the Tampa, Fla., area and owns his own brokerage company.

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