Blake Hoffarber was only a sophomore in 2005, playing for his uncle Ken Novak, Jr., at Hopkins.

The Royals were in the Class 4A title game against a talented Eastview team, and trailed 58-56 with 2.5 seconds left in the second overtime. It looked bleak. A long in-bounds throw from one end of the court to the other had Hopkins and Eastview players battling for position.

Hoffarber fell to the floor, but somehow the ball wound up in his hands and, with his butt on the court near the three-point line, he heaved the ball up. Swish.

The officials conferred: Was it a two, a three? Did Hoffarber get the shot off in time? Did he travel?

And the rest ... well you probably know. Hopkins won the game in two overtimes, 71-60. The Lightning was obviously deflated and didn't mount much of a fight in the second extra period. Hoffarber won an ESPY the following summer for Best Play of the Year.

So Amir Coffey's long three-pointer -- TV sportscaster Chris Long said on Twitter that he measured it at 57 feet -- was a great play and finish. It gave the Royals a 49-46 win over Shakopee in the state semifinals.

Coffey is a sophomore, too. Like Hoffarber was.

But Hoffarber's shot was more remarkable. You don't practice that shot.

Later, he made it again for KARE-TV. It took him 19 or 24 tries, depending who's telling the story. He also made it on national TV on "The Today Show" on his fifth try.

Royals fans still remember Hoffarber's shot and now have another great one to savor.

Too bad much of the end of the game was a snoozefest because the Sabers stayed in their zone and the Royals just held onto the ball. Maybe this will cause the Minnesota State High School League to look at a shot clock.

Hope so.


There is one other great shot I vividly remember in the years I covered high school sports. It came in the 1996 state quarterfinals.

Minneapolis North, with Khalid El-Amin, was trailing St. Thomas Academy 65-64 with seconds left. El-Amin got the ball in transition and launched a 23-foot jumper. Much, much shorter than Coffey's shot.

But it went in. It was his ninth three-pointer and gave him 41 points.

He was so excited he jumped onto the courtside table used by broadcasters and the stats crew. And then he jumped down on the other side. Maybe he was trying to reach North fans in the stands quicker. I'm not sure.

What makes the story better, though, is all his teammates followed him. All jumped on the table and off the other side.

He was a leader and everyone followed him. No matter where he led. Sure stunned some media members, I bet. I wasn't close to the "route" El-Amin took to the stands.

Hard to forget that game.