Gladstone — You would’ve thought that Oregon upset UConn again down at Matthew Knight Arena. There were dozens of students all over the court, booming screams and excitement deafened the air, and somewhere in all the madness was Hailey Monte. Monte is just a freshman, but she not only just knocked down the biggest shot of her life, but she also just sparked a massive fire underneath her Gladstone Gladiators program. That shot? It knocked off the #4 team in the state and handed Gladstone sole possession of first place in the Tri-Valley Conference. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.
The insanity that led up to this moment culminated over the period of two LONG minutes of gameplay, it honestly felt like the equivalent of two minutes of a game on television, just so much drama and anticipation of what was to come. It started with a possession wash for the Gladiators, followed up by a blocking foul while Corbett was in transition, so the Cardinals had a chance to extend their lead. The free throw taker would miss completely, smacking it off the left side of the backboard with no rim. Gladstone went down the floor and scored, suddenly trimming the game down to a 45-39 deficit. After trading empty possessions, Corbett would grab a board and start pushing the ball, but a floating ball resulted in a turnover. What does Gladstone do? Put up a bucket and make it 45-41. The inbound? Another turnover and the Gladiators make it a one score game at 45-43.
On the ensuing possession, Corbett would get down the floor and start burning the clock, but another mistake gives Gladstone the ball back and two free throws off of the drive. Gladstone would split them, giving us a 45-44 game with around 30 seconds left. Corbett finally made to the other half of the court, burning the clock down to 19.4 seconds and getting two free throws from the double bonus. They hit the first one to make it 46-44, but the second one misses, keeping it a two-point game with Gladstone playing for the final shot. After some keep away and around five seconds left, Alyx DeVeny kicked it out to a contested Hailey Monte, who would sink a shot from about two to three feet behind the line, sending Gladstone High School into a volcanic eruption.
Corbett did what they could to salvage the win, but their final shot fell short from mid-range, which released the herd of students, players, and insanity onto the court. Their target? Hailey Monte. She was immediately blasted with hugs of celebration and tears of happiness, being the savior that got Gladstone in sole control of the Tri-Valley Conference against a Corbett team that tested them and pushed them out of their comfort zone all night long. After the party got started, the noise just got louder and louder, with the screams of students deafening even those with awful hearing to begin with. The grit, toughness, and determination of the Gladiators is what got them the win, never giving up even when everything seemed against them on the court. Make no mistake, Gladstone is the real deal and will be around in the 4A playoffs, perhaps with Hailey Monte being their ice veins that can get them through in the clutch moments.