Basketball team manager at Hillcrest High School given special chance to make final basket of game

MIDVALE, Utah — A senior at Hillcrest High School made the most of his one shot.

Tanner Cluff is a special education student at the school.  For years he dreamed of playing on the school’s basketball team.

“My freshman year, I tried out and I got cut first,” Cluff said.  “I didn’t feel like I was good enough.  That hurt.”

The disappointment was so great, it kept him away from the sport he loved.

“I kind of faded away from basketball,” Cluff said.

For his senior year, he decided to get involved as the team’s manager.

“He’s been to every practice,” said varsity coach Sanjin Kolovrat.  

That’s why Tanner was ready when Coach Kolovrat pulled him aside before the team’s senior night game against Kearns.

“Out of nowhere, coach said, ‘do you want to suit up,’” Tanner recalled. 

He couldn’t believe his ears.

He proudly wore the jersey and sat with the team on the bench.  Then, with seconds to go in the game, Tanner’s number was called.

“I was shaking.  I was so nervous,” Cluff said.

What happened next was a dream come true.  Tanner grabbed a rebound, raced down the court and just before time expired, his shot went through the basket.

“When I made the layup, it bursted,” Tanner said when describing the crowd’s reaction.  “It was really special.”

The basket made history.  It was the final shot made in a boys game in the gym.  It will be torn down and replaced later this year.  

Tanner raised his arms in elation as he ran down the court and was hugged by his teammates.

Video of the shot was posted on social media and has been viewed more than 68,000 times.  

Tanner is shocked his one shining moment has received so much attention.  But no one is surprised this shining star, never gave up on his dream.

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