We asked Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman’s photographer who was shooting the now-famous Hugo-Millwood 3A boys basketball game, to tell us about capturing the final seconds of the matchup. Hugo guard Trey Johnson scored the winning basket — only it wasn’t for his team.
I have covered a lot of basketball games, college, high school and professional, and I’ve never seen or even thought about a game ending like this.
When I photograph close games I try to put myself in the best location to capture the most likely outcome. Millwood looked like they were headed for a loss and since they are a local team I wanted to capture their reaction after the game. I stood close to the Millwood bench to give me a view of the players walking back.
When Hugo inbounded the ball to an open Trey Johnson I thought the game was over. I turned my camera towards the Millwood bench and players on the other side of the court. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Johnson bolt towards the basket and swung my camera around to see the play. By the time it came into focus the ball was already in the air and then the gym went silent.
At first I thought I was confused as to what was actually going on, maybe Hugo was sealing the victory. Then I noticed all the blank looks on fans’ and players’ faces. After a moment the Millwood players’ and fans’ blank expressions turned into a celebration.
After checking at the scorer’s table to make sure I was not seeing things I started to feel bad for the Hugo player. I thought back to all the mistakes I had made when I was his age and how most of them were only noticed by a few people.
–Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman