Unlikely high school basketball star recounts shot of the season
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland is the Bay Area's top-ranked basketball team. Last Friday, the focus was on one team member who scored a three-point shot and left everyone with the lasting memory of the season. The score was 96-64 and O'Dowd was ahead. That's when the coach decided to put in someone who had never played before on their court.
This story is not about Bishop O'Dowd's superstar, Ivan Rabb, who happens to be the nation's top-rated high school basketball player. No, it's about an unlikely hero, Lucas Cortez who played for only 90 seconds during last Friday's game.
"Lucas just steps right back out and everyone is behind him on the bench yelling 'shoot,' but he hesitates, and he looks around, and he shoots it," Rabb said, giving the play-by-play. "Lucas makes the basket."
They won that game against Berkeley High. Cortez was given the ball and he shot it from downtown -- and scored. You would have thought they had just won the state championship.
Asked if he knew he was going to score Lou Richie with the varsity men's basketball program said, "No, no. Would I have bet money? No, not at all. I would have lost. And that's why he's a winner."
Cortez is not a player. He's been the team's manager for the past four years. "I'm responsible for making sure all the coaches have what they need, so that's the stat books, waters," he explained.
When he spoke with ABC7 News, he wanted to focus more on the team than on that memorable moment. "And I was right here on the wing, and then I shot the ball again and I made it," he said. "I was just playing in the moment, didn't really think about it too much, just playing the game, and went back on defense."
Cortez is unable to play basketball because of a rare heart condition. "Mostly, I can't compete in high-level sports that demand a lot," he said.
At O'Dowd, he's one of the most recognized students on campus and after Friday night, his story has appeared on several blogs. An article written by fellow student Dominic Drury went viral.
"He's on the bench. He's always running back and forth. Everyone knows who Lucas is. And he's just a huge aspect of the team," Drury said.
Cortez will be leaving the team in a few months to go on to college, but that moment of stardom will be with him forever. "Probably when I look back at it, it will always be a standout point in my career," said the brief and humble Lucas Cortez.
oakland, high school, lyanne melendez
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