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Shooting sensation
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Spenser Hill delighted a packed crowd recently with a 36-point performance in the McMinnville Youth Basketball League. Hill hit 12 3-pointers in the contest. - photo by Jeffery Simmons

It started like any other game in the boys senior league at Bobby Ray. Morton’s Volunteers was flexing its muscles, running away with yet another win in the McMinnville Youth Basketball League.

Then Spenser Hill entered and changed the game.

Hill captivated a huge crowd when he drilled 12 3-pointers en route to a 36-point game, a career high for the longtime Jaycee basketball player.

“I’ve known Spenser for several years now through coaching basketball. He had one of the best games of his life,” said coach Stacey Young. “The entire gym was a buzz. Spenser is truly an inspiration to me as well as others.

“He is a very special person. You are a better person for knowing Spenser.”

Rigsby’s Farm Equipment’s secret weapon on offense couldn’t rally his team to victory, but nobody cared once Hill caught fire. His shooting show was unmatched, even with two of the county’s top players sharing the court.

Hill started his barrage in the fourth quarter, sinking a big shot from the wing that was capped by his patented archery celebration.

The Volunteers struck right back, with former Boyd standout Tyler Pomales answering with a long ball on the other side. Hill responded with another 3, only to see former all-district Pioneer Irving Espinoza connect from long distance.

Hill shut down the shooting competition moments later.

He hit shot after shot, with both teams standing in awe of the display. The crowd rose to its feet, often because Hill waved to the crowd to rise after his makes. 

Once Hill got close to 30 points, everybody got in the action.

“By the end, both teams were actively looking to pass the ball to Spenser,” said referee Reed Palmer. “It was exciting and I think it showed a great deal of sportsmanship on both sides.”

After his 10th 3-pointer tickled the twine, Hill ran into the stands. High-fives were shared by all, though it did little to cool down his shooting hand.

Hill returned to the court in time to nail another 3-pointer, this time jumping into his dad’s arms on the sideline.

“It’s something I’ll never forget as long as I live,” said Curtis Hill, who serves as an assistant coach. “He’s had a rough go. He battled leukemia and had a bone marrow transplant. And he’s the lone player in the league with Down Syndrome.

“He has come back strong though. He was tore up after the game. It was all he talked about. It’s still all he talks about.”

Hill saved his best shot for last.

With time ticking down, the ball was knocked out of bounds. Only 0.3 seconds were left on the clock, just time for one last shot. And everybody knew who would be taking it.

Hill caught the inbounds, set his feet and fired. The ball fell through the net as the horn sounded. All players on both sides rushed to Hill on the court while the crowd erupted.

The buzz hasn’t left the building since. Even weeks after the eruption, Hill’s game is still the talk anytime Rigsby’s Farm Equipment takes the court.

Everybody wants to be in the building when Spenser starts shooting again.