Kiam Bethea, a rising junior from Williamston, North Carolina, sank a game-winning three-point as time expired to lead Elite One Ballers past Nothing Easy 64-63 at the 2018 Elite-32 AAU Tournament in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The win moved Ballers into the semifinals of the boy’s varsity bracket.
Ballers held a 61-60 advantage and had the ball in the game’s waning seconds but a turnover in the backcourt ultimately resulted in a layup for Nothing Easy.
The Ballers then seemingly were lost after a fruitless trip down court meant they were forced to foul.
Nothing Easy did not make things easy but they did give the ballers a chance. After converting one-of-two free throws to hold a two-point lead with 4.4 seconds left, Ballers were left to inbound.
The mad dash led to Bethea hitting an awkward turnaround from behind the three-point line on the right side of the key to send both his teammates and the spectators into a frenzy.
Bethea, who plays at Riverside High School in Williamston and is a member of two AAU teams, had never hit a buzzer-beater to win a game prior to Saturday’s heroics.
“That is the first,” Bethea said. “I really thought I was going to miss it even though I have faith in myself. I just wanted to make a play. Nothing really went through my mind.”
And now with his big shot in the memory banks of those fortunate enough to be in attendance, Bethea has bigger goals with his high school team.
Riverside fell to West Columbus in overtime in a heartbreaking playoff loss this past season., The Knights are gunning for a longer postseason stay in 2019.
“We lost in the second round,” Bethea said of this past season’s playoff exit. “We plan on getting a championship next year.”