ANDOVER — With the clocked ticking below three seconds remaining in the game and his team trailing by three points, a miracle seemed impossible for Max Kirsch to find.
Taking a pass at the wing, Kirsch was swarmed by defenders that seemed to form an impenetrable wall between him and the basket.
But what happened next, not even the shooter himself could describe.
“I have no idea how that possibly happened,” said Kirsch, a resident of Atkinson, N.H. “Suddenly it was like the parting of the seas. I saw a tiny opening and I didn’t have a chance to think. I just took it.”
Kirsch somehow sliced through the defense and drained a 3-pointer as time expired in the first overtime.
He then knocked down a second trey to start the second overtime, and his little brother Mitchell Kirsch closed out the victory with four late free throws to give Preps 1 a 72-67 victory over scrappy Pelham in the title game of the Hoops for Hope Bradner Tournament.
“It was just awesome,” said Max Kirsch, who is heading into his junior year at Phillips Exeter. “I have been playing against Pelham my whole life. I hate to lose, so to keep us alive for that second overtime was amazing. To take home that title was huge.”
But it seemed like the title would be going in the direction of Pelham, who had upset St. John’s Prep in the semifinals, late in OT.
The Pythons led 65-62 with just three seconds left on the clock at the end of the first overtime.
“I knew I was going to be the trailer and I wanted the chance to get the shot,” said Kirsch. “Maybe I was selfish and I should have passed it, but I wanted to make something happen.”
One teammate that wanted the ball in the forward’s hands was his brother Mitchell.