The game-winning shot in the final seconds of regulation or overtime is the ultimate thrill in basketball.
Many players are fortunate if they experience that moment once or twice in a given season, but West Allis Central sophomore forward Jacob Fierst did it twice in one week, and in remarkably similar circumstances.
Fierst started his week by nailing a 3-point field goal with two seconds remaining in overtime to down Brookfield East, 54-53, on Feb. 7 in a moment that later wound up as a video on the Wissports website.
He then netted a two-point shot, just inches away from another 3-pointer, with two seconds left in regulation to beat Menomonee Falls, 66-64, on Feb. 10.
The wild, nail-biting sweep gave the Bulldogs seven victories in eight games, boosting them to 5-7 in the Greater Metro Conference after an 0-6 start and 10-9 overall.
"He is a confident young man, and he will step up and take the shot," coach Dave Mlachnik said. "He shows a lot of poise, as all my sophomores do this season."
Fierst said his twin game-winners are indicative of how well things are going for him and for the team at this point.
"It felt nice to do that (hit the winning shots)," he said. "I have been working hard at practice and (coach Mlachnik) has been pushing me. Now we are on the same page, and the entire team is clicking. We are able to overcome times when things are not going our way."
The Brookfield East game is one example. The Bulldogs were trailing 25-16 at the half but outscored the Spartans 29-20 in the second half. Kurt Mlachnik hit a 3-point shot with 15 seconds remaining to tie the game and force the overtime.
Central was down by 1 point in the final seconds of the extra session.
"We rebounded a missed free throw, and Kurt took the ball," Fierst said. "I trailed the play and he (Mlachnik) drove and got my defensive guy to go with him, then he passed back out to me at the top of the key. I liked the shot when I first took it, then I thought it was short, but it went in."
A similar situation unfolded against Falls in the second game, with the Bulldogs and Indians tied at 64-64.
"I set a screen for Kurt, then rolled to the top of the key," Fierst said. "Kurt drove and again drew my defensive guy. He passed back out and I hit the shot with my foot on the (3-point) line."
Fierst led Central against Falls with 18 points. Griffin Johnson and Paysharne Jelks each scored 10 points, Montae Blakely 8 points and Glenn Martin 7.
In the East game, Jared Welsch tallied 10 points, Jelks 9 points, Jose Cruz 8 points and Fierst 8 points.
"Both of these games are indicative of the way we have been playing," coach Mlachnik said. "We are playing great defense, moving the ball, and guys are stepping up and making plays."