An inside look at a game-winning shot
What's it like to hit a game-winning shot?
Just ask brothers Brendan and Dan Reichenbach from Salisbury. Each of them has had the opportunity to take, and make, game-winning, buzzer-beating shots for the Salisbury boys basketball team in recent years.
Brendan, a senior on this year's Falcon team, had his spectacular moment less than two weeks ago. On the last day of January, Salisbury's unbeaten league record was threatened as it faced a 51-49 deficit against Saucon Valley with 1.8 seconds to play. The Falcons were set to inbound just a few feet in front of half court.
The call wasn't set up for Brendan, but when he got his hands on the ball roughly 8-10 feet beyond the three-point line, all he had time to do was square up and fire. His shot hit nothing but nylon, sending the Falcons to a 52-51 victory.
"The play wasn't supposed to actually go to me," Brendan said. "But I just kind of found my way to the open space. When it went in, it was probably one of the better feelings ever."
That shot, the biggest of his career, secured a bye for the Falcons in the first round of this season's Colonial League tournament.
"We needed that win or Southern Lehigh," Brendan said. "Good thing we got that one."
Nearly two years prior, Brendan watched as his brother, Dan, took a similar game-winning shot. To watch that play unfold on the bench was one thing, but to connect on one himself was even more spectacular.
"It was great to be able to watch him do it," Brendan said. "To go through it myself was awesome and definitely one of the best feelings I've had in my life so far.
"If you ask me, his [Dan's] was definitely better. It was a longer court, so his shot was longer. It looks like the same spot, but it's a different size court and his was definitely further. His was more on the run, and mine was more of a set shot."
As a 2013 graduate of Salisbury, Dan's buzzer-beater came in the District 11 tournament against Wilson, a team the Falcons had already lost to three times that season.
It turns out the fourth time ultimately was the charm.
Down 55-54 with three seconds left in regulation, teammate Justin Aungst was dealt the task of inbounding the ball along the baseline opposite of the Falcons' basket. His bullet pass hit Dan just in front of half court, and after a quick dribble, his heave from just in front of the Rough Riders' center court logo swished through the rim.
"To be honest, I don't even remember the series of events that happened after it went in," Dan said. "It didn't really hit me until after that the odds of that shot going in are pretty low.
"In our timeout, we said that I was going to fake in front of the screen and cut back towards the middle. I kind of took a step forward like I was going around the screen, and then I just backed into the zone."
Both shots had plenty of implications for the Falcons. Dan's shot not only kept his senior season alive, but they eventually made a run that qualified Salisbury for the PIAA tournament.
"If we lost against Wilson, that was it," Dan said. "We would have lost to them for the fourth time [and] my career would have been over."
Both videos have been posted to YouTube and have over a thousand views apiece. A brief clip of Dan's shot even made SportsCenter's "Weekend Encore" on the Monday morning following the game.
"They showed like four half-second or one-second clips of me shooting, it going in, and two of us celebrating," Dan said. "At that point it was like two days later, and I wasn't really expecting anything."
Now that Brendan and Dan have both hit game-winning shots, the only one left is their younger brother Jack, a freshman that currently plays at Notre Dame (Green Pond).
"We tell him that he has to make it now," Brendan said. "People say that to him. Last night [Saturday] against Bangor, they had the ball down one with two seconds left. When I heard it was happening, I was thinking maybe it's his time already."
He may not have gotten that opportunity against Bangor on Saturday night in the Colonial League quarterfinals, but with three years left to play, Jack may see his number called sooner or later.