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Hellgate's week of beating the buzzer

By Vince Bagby, Sports Director, vbagby@keci.com
Published On: Feb 12 2014 09:31:56 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 12 2014 09:32:27 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Last week the Hellgate girls basketball team had a huge challenge taking on cross-town rival Sentinel.  Down by twenty points at the end of the first half, sophomore guard Darby Henthorn managed to hit one final bucket from way downtown right before the buzzer.  She sunk the shot as time expired from over 30 feet away from the basket.

"I don't know I just kind of hoped for the best and shot it and it went in," said Henthorn.  "I was shocked, I mean I had no idea it would go in but... I mean it helps a little bit, it's a three-pointer."

Just three days later it was time for Darby Henthorn's teammate Lexi Duce to make a similar shot in the waning seconds of the first half.  Hellgate found themselves in a tight battle with Big Sky.  After McKenna Arledge hit a three in the final seconds of the first half, it left just enough time for Lexi Duce to fire off another big shot.  This one was launched from over the half-court line, about 45 feet away, and it too found the bottom of the net.

"I grabbed it and started dribbling and I glanced up at the clock to see how much time I had left, saw it was at about two or three (seconds)," recalled Duce.  "I swished it but then I still thought it could have been short and I didn't want to celebrate really in case it didn't go in.  And then it was good when Kara came and jumped on me and I could finally show some emotion towards it."

Unfortunately the Hellgate girls were unable to win either of those games, but thanks to those buzzer-beating shots, it was a week that none of them had ever been a part of before.

"I don't think so, I really don't." said Hellgate head coach Gary McLaughlin.  "Those were two tough shots and those were great shots and momentum builders so it was a lot of fun."

"I've never been on a team where that has happened even once," added Henthorn.  "I mean it's happened but nothing like this so twice in one week is just bizarre."

So in the spirit of the Olympics I only had one more question: which shot would receive a better score from the judges?

"I think mine was the better shot, I was  little bit deeper," smiled Duce.  "I think Darby's was more of an actual shot, mine was more of a put-up or whatever but mine was farther."

"Well... hers was deeper," admitted Henthorn.  "I don't know.  They both just happened so fast.  My reaction was a little more embarrassing."