March Madness is in full swing, but it came to a screeching halt during an evening game on March 17. A game ball got stuck on a camera mount behind the backboard during the men’s NCAA tournament match-up between the Indiana Hoosiers and Saint Mary’s Gaels in Portland, Oregon, and it resulted in an epic MVP moment from the sidelines. This video of a cheerleader retrieving a stuck basketball during March Madness is definitely one for the highlight reels.
The ball got stuck early in the second half of the game, and it brought the action to a full stop. After an unsuccessful attempt by a referee standing on a chair with a mop to reach the ball, it was the cheer team that saved the day. Indiana University cheerleaders Cassidy Cerny and Nathan Paris worked together in what’s called an extension — where a base lifts a flyer so they are both standing upright — elevating Cerny to the hoop, where she was able to retrieve the ball (and make it look easy). Arguably the highlight of the game, the successful mission made the crowd go wild.
“What a play! The cheerleader saves the day, and that’s her one shining moment,” announcer Andrew Catalon exclaimed. “The cheerleader is the hero in Portland.” In case you were wondering, “One Shining Moment” is a song by David Barrett and has become synonymous with March Madness to highlight the best plays of the tournament, and Cerny and Paris definitely pulled off a game highlight with their clutch move. See the full clip of the save and some of the best Twitter reactions below:
Cerny reacted to her viral save on Instagram Thursday night with a photo of the moment and captioned it, “dont (sic) worry guys i got it.” In the comments, people were commenting with goat emojis, “GOAT,” “ICONIC,” and basically hailing her as the MVP of the tourney so far.
In a March 18 interview with TODAY show hosts Craig Melvin and Sheinelle Jones, Cerny shared what it’s been like in the whirlwind aftermath, telling the hosts, “It’s been very cool and very interesting to see how many people have seen the video and are reaching out.” Her teammate Paris agreed, “As cheerleaders, we’re always looking for a reaction from the crowd, so for us to be doing something that gets that kind of reaction is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Although the Hoosiers lost the game to the Gaels 53-82, their cheerleaders certainly won the spotlight.