It felt good coming out of his hand.
Or as good as a 90-foot throw can feel.
“For some reason, right when I released it, I was like, ‘Wow, this looks like it’s going in,’” Colby Corson said. “I just had a feeling somehow. I don’t even know. It’s crazy.”
It went in, and the Narragansett High School senior has been saying, “It’s crazy,” over and over again, about a lot of things, ever since.
The full-court shot sent Monday’s game at Pilgrim High School to overtime, where the Mariners prevailed. And not long after the ball slammed off the backboard and through the net, video clips went viral on social media. Corson’s shot was the No. 1 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter Tuesday morning.
Corson was the toast of the town at school on Tuesday and got the full media treatment, doing interviews with the Providence Journal and all three local television stations. It was a whirlwind day, something else Corson had a feeling about. As soon as the shot went in, he knew he had done something unforgettable.
“Honestly, right after I hit it, I came back to the huddle and just saw the Pilgrim fans in disbelief and all our fans going crazy,” Corson said. “It was like, ‘Wow.’”
The heroics came off Pilgrim’s trip to the free-throw line with just over a second remaining. The Patriots led by two points and made the first foul shot. Another make would have turned the final second-plus into a moot point. No shot, no SportsCenter. Just a quiet ride home after a tough loss.
Corson had been lined up to box out the free-throw shooter but Narragansett head coach Kyle Bodington made a last-minute switch.
“With 1.9 seconds, I wanted his athleticism down there – get the rebound, maybe have a chance to take a dribble and get a closer shot,” Bodington said.
When the shot missed, it came directly to Corson on the right side. He turned, leaned and let it rip. The gym went quiet, the buzzer sounded – and then mayhem.
“It was amazing,” Corson said. “It was really cool, seeing everyone going crazy. It was fun to see, good to be a part of.”
“It definitely had the distance,” Bodington said. “I couldn’t see the angle. But it had the distance and it hit the backboard and all of a sudden, it went in. So crazy.”
Basketball players often goof around with half-court and three-quarter court shots, sometimes even legitimately practicing them. It’s always possible such shots might be needed. But a full-court, one-handed throw? Better practice might have been throwing a football. Corson did some of that in the fall, though he was more typically on the other end of throws as a receiver for the Mariners.
Still, he had tried a few long tosses with a basketball.
“I wouldn’t say practice, but I’ve definitely messed around – chucked it up a few times,” he said.
The distance is half the battle. Getting it to the backboard is something not everyone can do. Getting it there online is even more difficult. Did he ever make one of his one-handed attempts?
“No,” he said with a chuckle. “Maybe once. But probably not full court.”
Once was enough this time, and it touched off a frenzy. When Corson checked his phone after the game, he had dozens of text messages from family and friends who had caught wind or seen the video clip. The next day, he was seeing himself on ESPN.
“It’s crazy – being next to players like LeBron, all-stars, and seeing myself there,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”
Corson and some of his teammates were also on SportsCenter’s top plays last year, but they didn’t really want to see it. East Greenwich’s Pat Shea hit a buzzer-beater to win the Division II championship over the Mariners. In the video, Corson can be seen slowly walking off the court while the Avengers celebrate.
This appearance was more welcome, and the celebration of the shot was soon followed by another. The Mariners won in overtime.
“After Colby made it and we were getting the kids back together, [assistant coach] Phil Rattenni had a good point. He brought us into the huddle and said, ‘This means nothing with a loss,’” Bodington said. “The kids refocused and they actually played their best basketball in the overtime.”
The result was the sixth win in seven games for the Mariners, and it was a big one, with the teams entering the night holding similar league records. Narragansett is now 8-5 in league play and just ahead of Pilgrim in the D-II standings.
“We’re playing good basketball right now,” Bodington said. “We’re peaking right now and we’re not totally at our peak yet. We’re getting some wins together. Hopefully, we can keep it going and finish strong.”
The dramatic shot was part of a 31-point night for Corson, who has had a terrific senior season. He’s averaging about 20 points per game. Last week, he played hero in a victory over Wheeler, hitting the game-winning jumper with two seconds left.
“It’s been good,” Corson said. “We have a lot of young guys. I’ve definitely had to take more of a leadership role. But it’s fun. It’s fun to be around the young guys and work with the other seniors, because we know it’s our last year.”
Corson is aiming to play college basketball, likely in the Division III ranks.
Even if he can’t quite replicate it, he’s got a fun clip to add to his highlight reels.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in high school basketball,” Bodington said.