Our picks for the top local buzzer beaters. All five were delivered by either a player from a local high school/college, or in a bay area venue:
5. Ty Rogers, Western Kentucky (March 21, 2008)
An unassuming senior role player, Rogers sank a 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer to lift the Hilltoppers to a 101-99 overtime win against Drake in an NCAA Tournament first-rounder at the St. Pete Times Forum (now Amalie Arena). Only 5.7 seconds remained when Rogers threw an inbounds pass to Tyrone Brazelton, who drove the length of the court and pulled in two defenders, prompting him to kick it back to Rogers for the game-winner. WKU, the 12-seed in the West, made the Sweet 16.
4. Charlie Bradley, Robinson High (March 8, 1980)
Bradley’s tip-in at the overtime buzzer lifted the Knights to a 69-68 home victory against No. 1-ranked Lakeland (32-2) in the Class 4A sectionals, propelling them to the state tournament. The Knights had rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 1:04 of regulation, forcing overtime on Darryl “Cuda” Patterson’s two free throws with three seconds remaining. Bradley would go on to become USF’s all-time leading scorer.
3. Alexis Hornbuckle, Tennessee (April 6, 2008)
Less than a week after draining a critical late 3-pointer against Texas A&M in the region final, Hornbuckle delivered heart-palpitating encore. Her put-back of a Nicky Anosike miss with 0.7 seconds remaining lifted the Lady Vols to a 47-46 victory against LSU in the national semifinals at the St. Pete Times Forum. It was her only basket of the game. Two nights later, UT topped Stanford for its eighth national title.
2. Otis Kitchen, Tampa Catholic (March 2, 1995)
Besieged by foul trouble and betrayed by his shooting touch in this Class 3A state semifinal game in Tallahassee, Kitchen remained poised enough to deliver arguably the greatest shot in Crusaders history. With TC and Port St. Joe tied at 65-all, sophomore Darrell Jackson stole a pass beneath the Sharks basket and tossed it up to Kenny Kelly, who dribbled down the right side. Kelly’s cross-court pass to junior teammate Kelly Hite was intercepted by Kitchen, a lanky junior who hoisted a jumper from just beyond the free-throw line. Swish. Ballgame. It was Kitchen’s only field goal in eight attempts. Two days later, TC topped Boca Raton St. Andrew’s, 69-67, for the state title.
1. Keona Dixon, Clearwater (Feb. 13, 2007)
The stakes (Class 5A region semifinals) and surreal length of this buzzer beater at Gulfport catapults it to No. 1. After Boca Ciega freshman Latavia Dempsey hit two free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining to tie the score at 69-all, Dixon caught the inbounds pass about 70 feet from the basket and heaved. The ensuing swish remains embedded in Tornadoes lore. “If you’re going to lose, you might as well go out like that,” Pirates coach Will White told the Times’ Bob Putnam. “It’s going to go down as one of the greatest girls basketball games played in this county.”
Women’s Final Four
Amalie Arena, Tampa
Friday: Baylor vs. Oregon, 7 and Notre Dame vs. UConn, 9:30 TV: ESPN2
Sunday: final, 6 TV: ESPN
More info/tickets: Single-session tickets are available through the NCAA’s official site; prices vary. Visit ncaa.com/womens-final-four
• The Tampa Convention Center will host Tourney Town, a free festival with contests, games, autographs and clinics Friday-Sunday. The event includes Beyond the Baseline, which features opportunities for networking and professional development.
• The plaza outside Amalie Arena will host a free party with live music, food and games before the games (4-6:30 on Friday and 3-5:30 on Sunday).
• Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park will have a free celebration of basketball with fireworks and live music from 6-11 p.m. on Saturday.
• The Women’s Final Four Bounce is a dribbling parade for children 18 and younger. It starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.