I was sitting in the gym at Stonewall Jackson two seasons ago when their 5'6 guard Meghan Lutz fell hard to the floor. Stonewall was hosting Page County that night and you could tell that the sophomore was injured on the play. We wouldn't find out just how serious until X-Rays revealed the damage done to her right knee.
I live in a world where the Glass is ALWAYS at least half full and I tend to pull for the underdog whenever I can. Lutz would now be a poster child for me as this remarkable young lady (All of what must be 80 pounds) would be forced to battle back from an career threatening injury.
Head Coach Jeff Burner and his assistant Jason Lutz don't give "Gracie" a great deal of slack. Older brothers and Head Coaches that are like family tend to be the way. When asked why Burner calls Lutz "Gracie" he will quickly tell you it is because of her lack of grace. At a game at Page County earlier this year I mention to the Stonewall coaching staff that I had counted 17 times that Gracie had ended a play on the floor of the Panther court... The response- she can do that by Lunch on any given day at school.
Fast forward to the final two minutes against Buffalo Gap tonight and you will see three seperate game changing plays made by Lutz. Sara Lamneck had just tied the game at 40-40 with a putback basket at Stonewall headed down the court. A Generals pass got away from Heather Stout and Gap was fast breaking to the go ahead basket. Lutz made up some lost ground in a hurry and managed to block the lay-up attempt of Samantha Long to perserve the tie.
One minute later Gap was once again looking to break the 40-40 tie and Lutz deflected a Bison pass and went to the floor. It was only the 8TH time on the floor for the game but the jump ball she forced with her effort turn the tide for Stonewall.
The clock is running down and Stonewall is holding the ball for a game winning shot. Lutz is above the top of the key with the clock at 0:04 when she starts toward the basket. What happened next will become etched in Stone and the crowd that was in the building that night will increase everytime the tale of "THE SHOT" is told.
Gracie pulls even with the free throw line and launches an off balance runner that never made it more than a foot above the rim. From my vantage point I think the ball hit the rim, then banked of the glass before falling through the basket with 0:01.0 remaining in the game. The shot would live forever anyway but add the fact it gives the 2008-2009 Seniors an opportuntiy to clinch a 4TH straight Shenandoah District Championship and it takes on a life of its own.
I waited to talk to Meghan after the final buzzer and asked but one question of the young lady with a very wide smile. Eyes open or closed?
On a day where you could not escape the Market downfall or the buzz about A-Rod, I went in search of a reason to smile and Boy did I find one!!!