Player: Aaron Morris, Altoona
Opponent: State College
Date: Saturday, Feb. 28, 1998
Site: St. Francis College’s DeGol Arena
Setting the scene: Altoona hadn’t won a district championship in eight years and faced a State College team that included current Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson. The teams split their two regular-season games and were involved in a back-and-forth District 6-AAAA final.
The shot: Mike Carney’s long-range 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining pulled Altoona even, 70-70. Then with State College’s Kenny Krimmel heading down the lane for a possible game-winner, the Lions’ Matt Durbin slapped the ball away from behind. Morris scooped up it up with six seconds left, raced upcourt and, using a cross-over dribble at the top of the key, drove to the basket and banked in the game-winner at the buzzer.
Mirror excerpt from Sunday, March 1, 1998: In as good a championship game as you’d want to see, both teams made big runs and big shots all afternoon. — Jim Lane
(To view the entire original articles from this game, go to altoonamirror.com.)
—Morris: “I remember looking up and seeing four seconds on the clock. Everything was happening so fast. I just knew I needed to score.’’
—Vince Nedimyer Jr., teammate: “It was amazing. Aaron started out on the right, then went the whole way to his left and then crossed over and made the shot. I was the first one there to congratulate him.’’
—Art Taneyhill, coach: “Carney’s shot was big because we were down. He hit it in front of me. It was a 30-foot shot.’’
Aftermath: After Morris’ 27-point performance and buzzer-beater, Altoona won three interdistrict games before falling to New Castle in the Western final. Morris currently lives in Pittsburgh and works for Holy Family Institute, counseling children and families.
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