To subscribe, click here.

Want to purchase today's print edition? Here's a map of single-copy locations.

Sign up for our daily newsletter here

CATLIN — The best play of the recently completed Vermilion County boys’ basketball tournament ultimately didn’t affect the outcome of its championship game.

But Salt Fork senior Blake Norton dazzled the crowd at Danville Area Community College’s Mary Miller Gymnasium on Saturday evening with an 80-foot heave that beat the first-quarter buzzer and gave the second-seeded Storm an 8-4 lead against top-seeded Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” Norton said Monday afternoon, two days after his gravity-defying shot. “I’ve got grandparents telling me they see friends at the store and that’s the first thing they bring up, and (my) parents at work. It’s pretty crazy going to school and all the teachers you know (are) saying, ‘Congrats on your shot.”’

Blake Norton's 80-foot heave lifted Salt Fork to an early 8-4 lead over Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin on Saturday, Jan. 21. Video courtesy Danville Area Community College.

Norton is also a standout center fielder and pitcher for the Storm baseball team and his Danville Post 210 American Legion team in the summer.

The long throws to the plate that he’s accustomed to making from the outfield paid dividends on Saturday night.

“Luck was definitely on our side, but I’m not going to give luck all the credit there,” Norton said. “Those long throwdowns in baseball, I think I kind of got it from that, messing around in P.E. and stuff, and just messing around in the gym shooting around.

“Now everyone, when they say those are pointless shots, now I can say, ‘Well, that happened in the game.’”

Salt Fork’s fans had plenty to cheer for on Saturday night despite eventually falling short in a 40-35 thriller with the Blue Devils.

The win dropped the Storm to 19-2 on the season, with both losses coming at the hands of BHRA in tournament championship games.

But even Blue Devils supporters were forced to give Norton his due after the improbable shot.

“I couldn’t even hear myself think,” Norton said. “I’m not really trying to go out there and celebrate and say, ‘Look what I did.’ It’s just like, ‘Oh, there’s three extra points, we won the quarter. Let’s keep moving on.’”

Trending Videos