Joe Collins

Evanston Wildkits full-court shot 'best moment' of freshman's life

Evanston Wildkits full-court shot 'best moment' of freshman's life

Blake Peters didn’t want the ball to come to him. But life came at him fast. 2.6 seconds to be exact.

His team, the Evanston Wildkits, were down by two points late in the fourth quarter against Maine South. The Hawks had a chance to make it a three point game with a free throw. The shot was missed—and naturally, the ball ricocheted right to him. Peters captured the rebound and launched a prayer. It resulted in one of the craziest endings in recent Illinois high school basketball memory.

“I didn’t want that responsibility of shooting the shot,” Peters said. “I just told myself to shoot it. And actually, it looked good when I saw it...and then when it went in, I was shocked. It was probably the best moment of my life.”

Peters, a freshman, drilled an 80-foot, one-handed game winner to give his Wildkits a 45-44 win over conference foe Maine South. It sent the home crowd at Beardsley Gymnasium into a frenzy. The ensuing social media buzz, which included acknowledgment from Sports Illustrated and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” just to name a few, catapulted Peters into the viral stratosphere.

In this interview, Peters takes us back to a moment he’ll treasure indefinitely.

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage


Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area football fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @CSNPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. — just after Chicago White Sox baseball. The show also live streams at High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following Saturday. This week we spotlight some "on the verge" teams in Chicagoland. Whether teams are on the verge of a turnaround, a breakout season or –possibly- entering Edgy Tim's Top 25 Power Rankings, these matchups could go a long way in determining which teams stand above the rest:

Hersey at Hoffman Estates, 7:30 p.m.

Libertyville at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

Wheaton North at Joliet Catholic, 7:30 p.m.

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Preseason All-State Team]

Poll opens Monday at 12 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @CSNPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @CSNPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @CSNPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @CSNPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.

The wait - and the weight - is over: Cubs fans celebrate World Series title

The wait - and the weight - is over: Cubs fans celebrate World Series title

There is a scene in the 2009 movie “Up In The Air” where George Clooney’s character (Ryan Bingham, a “job termination facilitator” for a human resources company) gives an inspirational speech at a corporate seminar. He stands at a podium in one of those big, sterile hotel conference rooms.

His talk revolves around how the things we love can be burdensome. He compares all of our interpersonal relationships to wearing a heavy backpack—and how all the conversations, negotiations and conflicts of those partnerships can drag a person down, with the straps creating divots in the shoulders.

Now take the Cubs fan’s relationship with the team. Imagine how heavy that backpack was until Wednesday’s Game 7 victory.

It was 108 years of misery. A century-plus of broken promises and unrealized potential. Bad drafts. Weak pitching. Questionable management. Failures in the postseason. And it carried over to derisive mocking at the hands of friends, family members, strangers on the bus, late-night talk show hosts and so on.

And much like the movie, Dexter Fowler hit one ‘up in the air’ and out of Progressive Field. 406 feet to be exact. The backpack felt even lighter after a 5-1 lead. It went back to having the weight of a hundred cinder blocks after nine innings. But Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Miguel Montero and C.J. Edwards helped to ensure the Cubs’ eventual cutting of the backpack straps, much like a college basketball team does to the nets after a championship. The Cubs cut down 39,467 consecutive, burdensome days. Their job was complete. The backpack lay in a shambles.

And just like that, the wait - and weight - was history.

Gone was the tired shot of the 1908 Cubs team photo, with the bizarre mascot front and center.

Gone, also, were the losses in the 1910 and 1918 World Series, the latter to Babe Ruth and the Boston Red Sox.

Out of the backpack was the inexplicable loss to the Philadelphia Athletics in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series, where the Cubs led 8-0 in the seventh and ended up losing 10-8. Also vacated: Babe Ruth calling his shot in the 1932 series. And the Cubs failure to capitalize on a 100-win season in 1935. Same goes for Gabby Hartnett’s 1938 “Homer In The Gloamin,” which was a mere regular season footnote after another stinging October loss to the Yankees.

Another backpack casualty was the 1945 World Series. No more carrying around that loss to the Tigers—the last such championship series appearance for the next 71 years. In fact, Sam Sianis’ billy goat may have started to eat away at the backpack a little. Don’t goats eat everything anyway?

The mundane Cubs of the 1950s? Gone. The blotchy College of Coaches era of the early 60s? See you later. No black cats of 1969 tugging on the shoulders anymore, either.

Gone are all the “Completely Useless By September” acronyms, fitting of the 1977 club that had an 8.5 game lead in late June and, somehow, finished 81-81 and 20 games back.

The audio of the Lee Elia tirade of 1983 is silenced. The vision of the ball going through Leon Durham’s legs in 1984 is now opaque. Cubs fans will no longer get chided about Andre Dawson’s MVP effort being wasted on a last place team in 1987. Or how Will Clark’s dominance in the 1989 NLCS led to the Cubs demise.

Does the 0-14 start in 1997 give you chills? Maybe not as much now. Ditto with how the Cubs fell flat against the vaunted Braves pitching staff in the 1998 NLDS.

Steve Bartman and the 2003 Cubs might have set the backpack on fire.

The players who smashed Sammy Sosa’s boom box after the 2004 season –perhaps the same ones who critiqued the team broadcasters after a late-season collapse-- probably took a few whacks at the backpack, too.

Still carrying around that burden of Ted Lilly slamming his glove to the mound in the 2007 NLDS? Don’t worry. It’s been released. Same goes for that James Loney grand slam in 2008 that sent Wrigley Field into a catatonic state.

The 100-loss team in 2012? Theo Epstein helped kick that to the curb as part of the new Cubs Way.

Turn the backpack upside down and shake out the one remaining artifact—the meager NLCS exit in 2015 against the Mets.

The wait is over. The ‘weight’ is a thing of the past, too. No longer are the talks of curses, billy goats, black cats and bad omens. The towels that were used by the Cubs pitching staff a decade ago are now backpack-free, currently used to wipe champagne out of the eyes. No more jabs about priests spraying Holy water on dugouts or freak injuries to prized starting pitchers. Forget about trying to explain the “Eamus Catuli” sign, a yearly numeric chronicle of Cubs failure, to confused onlookers. No more chants of “19-08, clap-clap, clap-clap-clap” in road venues across the country.

The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions, and their fans can finally raise their hands in victory above their sore, tired shoulders.

More on the World Series victory

--Joy to the World: Cubs finally end 108-year Series drought

--Finally: The Cubs are World Series champs

--The wait –and the weight- is over: Cubs fans celebrate World Series title

--Barack Obama congratulates Cubs World Series championship

--Famous Cubs fans celebrate World Series title on Twitter

--Ben Zobrist becomes first Cub ever to win World Series MVP

--Numbers game: statistical oddities of the Cubs World Series title

--Jed Hoyer: Rain delay was ‘divine intervention’ for Cubs

​--Fans give Cubs a taste of home in Cleveland

--Ben Zobrist delivers exactly what the Cubs expected with massive World Series

--‘Dreams come true’: Bill Murray reacts to Cubs winning the World Series

--Big surprise: Kyle Schwarber plays hero again for Cubs in World Series Game 7

- Ryne Sandberg: World Series ‘made it able for me to live in the present’