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Mesquite Wildcats react to viral buzzer-beater that sent them to the state championship game

Video of the shot made it's way to No. 1 of the Top 10 on 'SportsCenter.' 12 Sports caught up with the team about their viral moment.

GILBERT, Ariz. — It's a shot that will go down in the history books at Mesquite High School and will be talked about as one of the greatest shots in Arizona high school basketball history. 

The sixth-seeded Mesquite boys basketball team was in the AIA 4A state semifinals, taking on the defending champions, #2 St. Mary's. 

The Wildcats were down two points with 2.3 seconds to go. The ball was inbounded by St. Mary's, fought over, and stolen, ending up in the hands of senior guard Nate Calmese, who threw it up as the buzzer sounded. 

The rest, as they say, is history. The ball fell through the basket, and chaos ensued, as Mesquite students and fans rushed the floor at St. Mary's. The Wildcats upset the Knights, 74-73, and earned the chance to take on #1 Salpointe Catholic for the state championship Monday night. 

Video of Calmese's shot has gone viral. It has gotten hundreds of thousands of views on social media and was even the No. 1 play in SportsCenter's Top 10 last night. 

12 Sports caught up with Calmese and head coach Shawn Lynch the morning after their big win.  

Here's how Calmese described the final moments of the game. 

"I saw that pass in the air and I just thought we had a chance. It's not over (until) it's over for sure," Calmese said. "In my head, it was perfectly on target. In my mind, I thought it was going in."  

"I've never been in an experience like last night," Lynch said about the final moments of their win. "The first thing I'm looking at is the referee to signal that it's good. And then I'm watching the crowd and our kids go crazy. It's a good feeling."  

Calmese is happy that he is getting to share his spotlight with his team, especially during his senior season.

"It's definitely a blessing because these are my guys, you know, since day one," Calmese said. "So to do it with them, it's undescribable."  

It turns out, the Wildcats practice for these moments. 

"Every Saturday, at practice, we shoot for donuts (from) half-court," Calmese told Kevin McCabe, the host of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM's AZ Preps Live. "It's paying off now." 

"The first kid to hit one gets first crack at the donuts," Lynch said. "It's just a fun way to end practice." 

The Wildcats are in the midst of the best season in school history and are headed to their first-ever state title game. 

"We definitely believed, from the beginning of the season, this has been our goal," Calmese said. "And I told (the team), we were coming for this and this is what we work for, so, we got it now, but we're not finished yet." 

"When this adrenaline runs off, which it will, or we'll run it off them (Thursday), then reality's going to hit," Lynch said. "We've got another game to play against a very, very good basketball team."  

The #6 Mesquite Wildcats and the #1 Salpointe Catholic Lancers will play for the AIA 4A boys basketball state championship on Monday, February 28th at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The game will tip at 8 pm.  

12 Sports on YouTube 

 

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