Around 40 miles south of the University of Kentucky, there is a small liberal arts school that also rocks blue and white on the basketball court. Berea College is in its final year of a transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III, and the men’s basketball team made a splash onto the national basketball scene on Monday with the #1 play on the SportsCenter Top 10.
Tied at 79-79 with Birmingham-Southern on Sunday, junior Berea guard Corey Wise drained a half court shot at the buzzer to give the Mountaineers a big win and the most national attention the program has ever received.
Coming off of back to back USCAA national tournament appearances, including one national semi-final, Coach John Hemenway was certainly aware of the magnitude of the moment in his post-game interview.
“In my twelve years of coaching, I have never won a game on a last second shot like that,” Hemenway said.
Corey Wise sending us off into finals week with a big time last second shot. Final score: 79-82 Berea.#MountUp— Berea Athletics (@Berea_Athletics) December 12, 2016
Perhaps the most amazing part of this story, though, is the call behind the shot. The three person announcing team for the Mountaineers came to the game not only to call the game (archived here), but to say goodbye to one of their own.
Nate Metz is a graduating senior that has been in charge of all Berea College athletic broadcasts for the last 4 and a half years. He was named the Student Broadcaster of the Year for the state of Kentucky in 2014, and hopes to pursue a career in broadcasting.
Just three hours before tip-off, Nate was walking across the stage receiving his diploma. He came into the Seabury Center at Berea College on Sunday for one final ride beside his broadcasting teammates, freshman Ivanna Sabino and yours truly, and to give a formal thank you to the athletic department for providing him with an opportunity to do what he loved.
Little did he know what opportunity he would receive that night. In the final seconds of his final game as a student broadcaster, he was gifted with a commentator’s dream scenario.
Tears are flowing right now. Finally getting to call a buzzer beater in my final game as a student. The support is overwhelming. Thank you.— Nate Metz (@NateMetz) December 12, 2016
“What a graduation gift,” indeed, Nate.
Man, sports are awesome.