Hitting a game-winning shot is a memory for a lifetime.
Nailing a go-ahead 3-pointer against your biggest rival, on its home floor for the win is priceless.
Friday night, Woodrow Wilson senior standout Maddex McMillen etched his name forever in the lore of Beckley basketball thanks to one huge shot.
With his team down two against Greenbrier East inside the Spartan gym, McMillen calmly drilled a corner 3-ball as the clock ticked under three seconds for a dramatic 66-65 win over its bitter rival.
McMillen’s game-winner was part of a 25-point performance against the Spartans in Woodrow’s season opener. For his efforts, he has been named Lootpress Boys Basketball Player of the Week for week two of the high school boy’s basketball season.
The Lootpress Player of the Week award is sponsored by Bodyworks and The Law Offices of Brandon Steele.
McMillen also won the fan vote which broke the tie to give him the award.
“It an honor and it is really cool to get this award, especially in a season-opener against a rival like Greenbrier East. It is always fun to play down there,” McMillen said. “Hitting that shot was amazing.”
After helping his team to an early lead, McMillen watched the home-standing Spartans regroup and lead by as many as nine points in the final eight minutes of the contest.
A furious Beckley rally evened the game before a pair of free-throws gave East the lead in the waning seconds.
Walking off the floor for a timeout, McMillen was already mentally prepared if his number was called for the final shot. The heady senior had been in that situation before with a tough result.
“I remember looking up and there was 14.1 seconds left and I told myself if I get the ball, I am going to win the game,” McMillen said. “When coach said the play, in my head, I knew it was the same shot against Shady (Spring), but this time I made it.”
Although he hit the game-winner, McMillen credited the team for the comeback win.
“I think it just shows our mental toughness and our ability to persevere through adversity. We just don’t give up,” McMillen said.
With the Beckley crowd in a frenzy and people running on the floor, one of the first to congratulate McMillen was head coach Ron Kidd who did the Steph Curry walk-off as the shot went up.
“At first I thought it was somebody from the crowd coming to tackle me and it startled me,” McMillen said, laughing. “I turned around and it was coach Kidd. I thought, oh, my goodness. I didn’t know what it was.”
Woodrow’s resilience was tested again Wednesday night in another comeback win. This time it was a 51-47 triumph over Bluefield.
Thanks to its late game heroics, Woodrow Wilson now sits at 2-0 on the young season for the first time since 2017.