It’s tournament time in basketball, which makes every possession and every basket more meaningful. It can be the difference between moving on in the playoffs or having your season end.
That’s what makes buzzer-beating shots so special. They’re as amazing and exciting for the team that wins as they are devastating to the team that loses.
There have been several buzzer-beaters in Minnesota games this year, including a few that made national headlines. Here are six of the best among high school, college and yes, even the Timberwolves.
Waseca Beats Marshall in 4 Overtimes (3 Buzzer Beaters)
Waseca’s four overtime victory over Marshall in the Section 2AAA championship game at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter will go down as a game for the ages. It’ll be talked about in bars and coffee shops for decades to come not just because the heavy underdog won, but the fashion in which it went down.
Trailing by three in the closing seconds of regulation, Marshall’s Trey Lance hit a 3-pointer as time expired to send the game to overtime. Waseca trailed 94-91 in triple overtime when the unthinkable became reality. With one second left, Nick Dufault took the inbounds pass and heaved a shot nearly the length of the court. It went in, sending the game to a fourth overtime.
Waseca’s Cole Streich was the final hero in one of the great games in Minnesota prep history. Streich raced down the court in the final seconds of the fourth overtime and drained a 3-pointer at the top of the key at the buzzer, sending the Bluejays to the Class AAA State Tournament. A mix of bedlam and shock followed for players and fans on both sides. What a game. What a finish.
Blake Hoffarber (Hopkins and University of Minnesota)
You could say Twin Cities native Blake Hoffarber has a knack for hitting big shots. His first buzzer-beater in high school got him an ESPY award, and his second helped get the Gophers to an NCAA Tournament. As a prep star in 2006, he hit a shot on the ground, literally from his butt, as time expired to send the state title game to a second overtime. His Hopkins squad eventually won the game and state title in double overtime.
He did it again in 2008, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The shot was more reminiscent of how Christian Laettner beat the buzzer for Duke against Kentucky in one of the great games in NCAA Tournament history. But the result was the same, taking about a 70-foot inbounds pass, catching and shooting at the buzzer to beat Indiana. The Gophers lost in the semifinals to Illinois before going to the Big Dance, where they lost a first-round game to Texas.
Austin’s Oman Oman Hits Full-Court Buzzer Beater
The Austin high school basketball team beat Northfield in Big 9 Conference action this year on one of the most amazing shots you’ll ever see. The Raiders’ Chris Antoine missed a free throw with 1.5 seconds left and Northfield up 55-53. Oman Oman got the rebound and immediately heaved a 1-handed shot from nearly his own baseline. Somehow it went in, the arena went nuts and the social media explosion was on.
Carlie Wagner Shot Beats Ohio State
The Gophers women’s basketball team had a buzzer-beater this year to beat No. 5-ranked Ohio State on Senior Day for one of the best players in the history of the program, Rachel Banham. But it was a sophomore from southern Minnesota that hit the shot for the win in overtime. Carlie Wagner hit a jumper from the baseline as time expired to give the Gophers a big win in their final regular season home game.
Amir Coffey Half-Court Shot Sends Hopkins To Title Game
Local fans are hoping that Amir Coffey will be a future basketball star with the Gophers beginning next season, but we’re still buzzing over a half-court shot he hit as a high school sophomore in 2014 to send Hopkins to the Class 4A state title game. In the fourth overtime, he launched the game-winner from just behind half-court to give the Royals the victory. Hopkins lost a close game, 84-82, in the state championship game to Lakeville North.
Kevin Love (Deep 3 at buzzer beats Clippers)
Timberwolves fans love to hate Kevin Love after he forced his way out of Minnesota in a trade, but he did hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in 2012 to give the Timberwolves a 101-98 win over the Clippers in Los Angeles. For the local fans who stayed up late to watch the game, it was worth a few less hours of sleep at the time. Love originally was setting a screen, then peeled off behind the three-point line at the top of the key to hit the big shot.
The Boys State Basketball Tournament is this week at Target Center and Williams Arena, so there is a chance we haven’t seen our last buzzer beater of the basketball season.