Published January 11, 2007
If you were on hand for the Jan. 5 basketball game in the Pinecrest Academy gymnasium, Cumming, you were lucky enough to witness the “Metz Miracle” in the school’s 2007 home opener against Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Atlanta.
Holy Spirit was undaunted from the tipoff, jumping out early with an 8-0 run. They held the lead for nearly the entire game, but Pinecrest cut the deficit to one at the end of the third period. With 7:30 left in the game, senior guard Franco Garcia converted two free throws to give Pinecrest its first lead of 38-37. The teams traded baskets, but with 1:02 left in the game Pinecrest held a 50-44 lead. Holy Spirit fought back with a basket by junior forward Max Jones and a 3-pointer by senior guard Zach Raus with 15.3 seconds in the game, bringing them within one point. On their next offensive series, Holy Spirit senior center Alex Schaefer hit a jumper with 3.4 seconds on the game clock to give them a 51-50 advantage. That set up the dramatic conclusion.
With Holy Spirit clinging to a one-point lead, Pinecrest junior guard Michael Metz took the inbound pass, turned, took one dribble and threw up a shot from beyond half court. The shot went off the glass and into the basket—Pinecrest wins 53-51! In excitement the crowd rushed the court straight for a smiling and fist-pumping Metz.
Holy Spirit team captain Raus, who finished the game with 11 points, has competed against Metz for the past two years. Both athletes also play quarterback on their respective school’s football team. Raus said his team was disappointed about the loss, but the shot left them more shocked than anything.
“The competition between our two schools has made for a great rivalry and the shot sums it up. I love the guy (Metz) and if I had to lose to anybody, I couldn’t think of anybody else I’d like to see hit the winning shot,” said Raus.
Metz did not have a particularly good first half and was in need of encouragement at halftime. Pinecrest head coach Andres Montana and assistant coach Jay Lynch always begin with “Come, Holy Spirit” when they walk into the locker room at halftime. Montana said it helps them come up with words of inspiration for the team. Montana talked to Metz personally and said, “I believe in you, the team believes in you, and you’re probably going to do something special.”
As it turned out, victory rested on the last play of the game. Montana drew up three screens so the team could get the ball to Metz for the last shot. At the end of the timeout as they joined hands and prepared to break from the huddle, Metz had his eyes closed. “He is a very spiritual kid,” said Montana. He later told his coaches and teammates he was invoking the assistance of his guardian angel before he returned to the court. And the rest is history.
Metz said, “I was speechless following the shot. That’s why I was just running around the court. It was a real rush, and it was something we needed to spark our young season.”
Pinecrest (9-2) plays The Heritage School of Newnan at home on Friday, Jan. 12, and they travel to Watkinsville on Saturday, Jan. 13, to take on Westminster Christian Academy. Holy Spirit (4-6) travels to Columbus to face Calvary Christian Academy on Friday, Jan. 12.