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Buzzer beater: Pottberg's last-second shot lifts Indians past Bears

By Bill Althaus
Braden Pottberg (4) celebrates with his Fort Osage teammates after sinking a game-winning layup at the buzzer in a 53-51 win over rival William Chrisman Tuesday.

Greg Menne is the quarterback of the Fort Osage High School football team.

That is why boys basketball coach Josh Wilson placed the sophomore forward on the baseline with just 3 seconds left in their Suburban Middle Six Conference matchup with rival William Chrisman Tuesday.

Chrisman’s Dayne Herl had just hit a long-range 3-pointer to tie the game at 51, and Wilson called a timeout to draw up a play.

That play didn’t go quite as planned, but it had the desired end result.

“Look, Greg is the quarterback of our football team, so who else are you going to put back there for the inbounds play?” Wilson said after his players and Fort Osage fans celebrated.

Menne asked an official if he could move laterally on the baseline, which he was allowed to do, and after taking a quick step right, he moved left and fired a long pass with Braden Pottberg positioned on the left of three Chrisman defenders.

The pass defected off the fingertips of a Chrisman player to Pottberg, who was moving to his left yet tossed up a perfect right-handed layup off the glass at the buzzer to give the Indians a 53-51 win and their first conference victory of the season.

Fort Osage's Braden Pottberg sinks the game-winning shot at the buzzer after a long pass from Greg Menne and a deflection in Tuesday's game against William Chrisman. The basket lifted the Indians to a 53-51 win.

“We actually wanted Greg to try and get the ball to the top of the key, but he’s a strong kid and got it all the way to Braden on the baseline – and it turns out to be a play we’ll never forget,” Wilson said.

Pottberg and Menne couldn’t wait to talk about the big play after the most dramatic win of a pandemic-plagued season.

“I talked to the official to make sure I could run the baseline, and my job was to get the ball to one of my teammates to score the winning basket – and we were able to do it,” said Menne, who also grabbed an offensive rebound and scored a basket at 2:28 of the fourth quarter that gave the Indians their first lead of the game (49-47).

That teammate was Pottberg, who missed last season with a broken leg.

“At first I thought it looked a little short,” said Pottberg, who led the Indians with 17 points. “Our middle guy was supposed to run up and get it, so I started to run back and it got tipped, and I picked it up and laid it in.

“I’ll never forget this – the first time I beat Chrisman, ever!”

Fort Osage senior Braden Pottberg (4) gets a hug from teammate Brayden Nelson after sinking a game-winning shot at the buzzer to lift the Indians to a 53-51 win over rival William Chrisman Tuesday.

He and Menne were then greeted by fans who wanted to savor this special victory as the Indians broke a four-game losing streak to improve to 6-12 overall and 1-6 in the conference.

The game featured solid defense by both teams as Chrisman led 6-2 after one period and the score was tied 14-all at halftime.

Players on Fort Osage's bench celebrate after Braden Pottberg sank a game-winning shot at the buzzer to lift the Indians to a 53-51 victory over rival William Chrisman.

“We didn’t lose this game at the end,” a disappointed Chrisman coach Jake Kates said after a lengthy postgame session with his team. “We lost it in the first half. We scored 14 points – 14 points. We need to find some players who want to compete for an entire game.”

When asked how he hopes his team responds after a tough loss, he simply said, “We go back to work tomorrow.”

William Chrisman's Cam Dickerson (10) leaps to try to block a shot by Fort Osage's Zekiah Tucker (3) in Tuesday's game at Fort Osage. The host Indians claimed a 53-51 win when Braden Pottberg sank a layup at the buzzer.

Herl led all scorers with 20 points and Anthony Watkins added 18 for the Bears (7-15, 3-4), who have lost three straight.

Zekiah Tucker added eight points for the Indians.

William Chrisman's Dayne Herl, right, throws up a one-handed shot as Fort Osage's Nathan Dunne, left, defends in Tuesday's game at Fort Osage. Herl scored a game-high 20 points and hit a late 3-pointer to tie it at 51, but the Indians scored at the buzzer to claim a 53-51 win.