Amon Maluschnig and that Shot

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Story courtesy of College Sport Media

The most indelible memory a basketball player can have, or leave is to hit a buzzer beating, game winning shot.

Think of the three-pointer hit by the late Kenny McFadden to win the 1985 NBL Grand Final for the Wellington Saints against Auckland or the record nine buzzer beaters Michael Jordan achieved in his illustrious NBA career which are easy to watch on YouTube and have been viewed by millions.

Prior to 2022. St Bernard’s College had never made the National Premier AA Basketball tournament, that was until Amon Malusching hit the most important shot in school history.

In the quarter final of the AA Zone 3 Secondary Schools Premiership in Wellington in September, St Bernard’s College beat Napier Boys’ High School 83-82 to secure their place in the 24-strong national field.

Malusching hit a three pointer from the corner, on the bell.

“It was nothing but net, swish,” Malusching said grinning widely.

“I let the ball go with a second left; said the quickest prayer. The buzzer went off as the ball was in the air.

“There were seven seconds left and our team was in foul trouble with one of big men Isaac McCoy fouled out.

“I subbed in for him as we inbounded from our baseline. Riley Manu went round two defenders and got past half court, let off a pass to me and I didn’t even have time to think about the pressure of that shot. It was awesome.”

Malusching could have missed the Napier game altogether. On Monday he was in Christchurch competing at a football tournament. He hurried to the capital on Tuesday where disaster struck in the warmup to a pool game.

“I received the ball from a pass, and it smashed into my thumb which  started bleeding everywhere” Malusching explained.

“I passed out and had to go to the hospital where they wrapped it up and told me to relax. I had a high heart rate.”

The entire quarter final was pulsating with the lead changing multiple times and St Bernard’s changing their defensive strategy.

“Napier were getting a lot of hard buckets in the paint so we changed to a zone defence which prevented them from doing that so often,” Malusching said.

“Our coach Jackson Stubbins is the man. He played in the NBL, and coaches Splash basketball who a lot of the boys are involved with. He’s helped us improve so much.”

The Nationals were in Palmerston North during the school holidays. St Bernard’s beating Fraser High School, Hamilton was an historic success as was their victory for 23rd over local opposition Scots College.

“The whole thing was a real eye opener. The competition out there is massive. There were 15 years olds from Auckland who were seven feet. That made me realise how short my brother Ben really is, Na jokes.

“We’ve got about half the team back next year. It’ll be tough to repeat what we’ve done this year, but I’m pumped for 2023.”