Mount Pisgah's Buzzer Beater Caps Incredible Comeback for Program's First State Title
By: Joe Parker, Johns Creek Herald; March 10, 2021
MACON, Ga. — Mount Pisgah's offense struggled mightily in the Class-A Private boys state championship game against Holy Innocents' in Macon March 10. The team was shooting just 30 percent from the floor, and with under three minutes remaining, their hopes to capture their first state title looked bleak as the team trailed by seven points, a large margin considering their cold shooting.
But when it counted most, the team got hot.
The Patriots went on a 10-0 run in the final two minutes of the contest and received a massive defensive play to set up a buzzer-beating bucket from junior Kasheem Grady
to take a 43-41 win for the program's first state title.
After watching shot after shot miss the mark, a put-back basket by Nate Gordon
with two minutes remaining sparked the Patriots' incredible comeback.
Moments later, Gordon added two more points from the free-throw line to cut the Patriots' deficit to 41-37 with just over 60 seconds left on the clock. On the ensuing inbounds pass, a tipped ball found its way to the hands of senior guard JoJo Peterson
who put his layup attempt through the basket to put the Patriots within one-score.
The Patriots received some help on Holy Innocents' next possession when the Bears were called for a travel. Mount Pisgah took advantage with a basket to tie the contest at 41-41, sending the Patriot bench into a frenzy amid an 8-0 run.
With the excitement at a fever pitch and less than 10 ticks remaining on the clock, Grady pursued a Bears player from behind and snatched the ball away. After mindfully checking the time remaining, he quickly drove down the court. The guard planted his feet on the arc and sent away a leaning jump shot, the ball coming out of his hands just before the buzzer.
Nothing but net.
Grady's swish cemented the Patriots' title, and he was swarmed by teammates while still sliding on the court following his off-balance shot.
The Patriots' electrifying comeback and 10-0 run put to bed what was an otherwise frustrating game.
Mount Pisgah shot just 32 percent on field goals, were 3-18 from beyond the arc and made just six of 11 free throws. However, Holy Innocents' also struggled offensively, and the Patriots defense never allowed the Bears to build a significant lead.
Gordon led the Patriots with 14 points, followed by 11 from Peterson and eight from Grady. Gordon also accounted for 10 rebounds and three blocks.
The championship bookend caps off a dream season for the Patriots who compiled a 27-6 record and won the Region 6-A championship over perennial state title contenders St. Francis.
The state title comes in head coach Matt Hixenbaugh's second year leading the program.
Class A Private Boys: Mt. Pisgah Christian 43, Holy Innocents' 41
By: Stan Awtrey, High School Sports Blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; March 10, 2021
Kash is King, at least at Mt. Pisgah Christian.
, known around school by his abbreviated first name and his bright Carolina-blue shoes, will forever be known as the guy who made the winning shot to give his school its first state championship.
Grady came up with a steal and knocked down the winning basket as time expired to give Mt. Pisgah Christian a 43-41 win against Holy Innocents' in the Class A Private championship game at the Macon Coliseum. The shot capped a dramatic comeback that saw the Patriots score the game's final six points and stun the Bears, who led by eight with 2:11 left.
"They call me Kash," Grady said, clutching the game ball and state championship trophy in his right arm. "I lived up to the hype tonight."
Mt. Pisgah Christian cut the lead to 41-37 on a pair of free throws by Nate Gordon
, then JoJo Peterson
stole the inbound pass and scored. The Patriots tied the score after Holy Innocents' turned it over on traveling – one of three turnovers in the final 1:03 – and Gordon's jumper in the lane rattled around and fell through to even the score at 41-41 with 27 seconds left.
"Our backs were against the wall," Mt. Pisgah Christian coach Matt Hixenbaugh said. "Our guys didn't give up. They realized we had to make some plays, and we made a string of them."
That set up Grady's heroics. A Holy Innocents' player tried to dribble through the defense, and Grady came away with the steal. With time running out, the junior pulled up and connected on the mid-range jumper, then ended up on the bottom of a huge celebratory dogpile.
"Our guys made a great play," Hixenbaugh said. "He has such a high basketball IQ. To get the steal and to not panic, to realize he had four seconds left and couldn't get to the rim, and pull up and get the shot off shows his feel for the game. The fact it went in is a dream come true."
Mt. Pisgah Christian (27-8) was led by Gordon, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Peterson with 11 points. Grady scored eight. The Patriots finished the season with a 13-game winning streak.