Student May Not Win $10k Prize After Buzzer-Beating Half Court Shot

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jack Lavery makes a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot, but only after failing on his first attempt. Will he collect the contest prize money? (Published Sunday, Feb 16, 2014)

    A West Chester University freshman made the shot of his life during a halftime basketball contest yesterday. But, the half court shot he made was a second chance shot, and the athletic director says he won't be able to collect the $10,000 contest prize.

    "This is really tough for me honestly. After all that celebration, they told me I'm not going to get it. I feel a little hurt," said finance major Jack Lavery, 18. "No one from West Chester has even reached out to me yet." 

    Lavery, a Horsham native, participated in a halftime contest at the West Chester-Shippensburg basketball game yesterday. The halftime ritual and home game contest calls for the contestant to make four shots in 25 seconds -- a layup, foul shot, 3-point shot and a half court shot. The person selected for the feat is done by a random gametime drawing.

    Lavery said he spent no time practicing and found out he was selected to compete during the game.

    Wearing black sweatpants, Lavery started off his series of shots with ease. He had no problem making the first three shots. When he attempted the half court shot, he missed. But then he rebounded and threw it back up from half court about a second before the buzzer. The crowd erupted in cheers, as seen on the video. It was a fleeting moment of celebration for the freshman.

    The bad news came moments after the cheers. West Chester University officials told Lavery he won't take home the $10,000 prize because he didn't make the first half court shot attempt.

    "We are hopeful that the university will award him with $10,000 for his unbelievable feat like they promised," said Bill Lavery, Jack's father. "We kind of feel a little let down. They made him believe he won after the shot. It's kind of frustrating."

    Bill Lavery told his son from the beginning that he'd match the $10,000 prize if he won. The Lavery family is hoping the university will honor the second chance shot, as they believe the announcer encouraged Jack to continue shooting. The family believes he shouldn't be disqualified for missing the first half court shot because he completed the series of shots in 25 seconds. 

    The family has requested a copy of the contract the younger Lavery signed and is challenging the school to honor Lavery's miraculous series of shots. Bill Lavery points to a conversation after the contest that he says was recorded on video. Bill Lavery says the school told him they would evaluate the situation and have a decision in two weeks.

    Athletic director Edward Matejkovic said the university will make the contract available to NBC10, spelling out the rules, which according to Matejkovic, states all four shots must be made the first time.

    Will West Chester University give Lavery the $10,000 cash, a scholarship or nothing? We'll have to wait and see.


    Contact Sarah Glover at 610-668-5580, sarah.glover@nbcuni.com or follow @skyphoto on Twitter.