Brandon Manifrang's Big Shot
February 03, 2012

Watch Brandon Manifrang’s big shot, which was taken at Union High School on Jan. 16, 1998. As the crowd converges on Manifrang, you can see his father, Mark (wearing short-sleeved blue shirt), stumble across the floor after tearing an achilles tendon during the celebration.

It was a night of mixed emotions for the Manifrang family.

At the exact moment that Union High School senior Brandon Manifrang was sinking a miraculous 75-foot shot to lift the Union boys basketball team over Neshannock on Jan. 16, 1998, his father, Mark, sustained a serious injury.

With the score tied at 74, a Neshannock player had a shot from the corner to win the game. However, the shot missed and the ball caromed out to Manifrang, who caught it in stride and launched a desperation shot with two seconds left.

Manifrang, now a juvenile probation officer, watched it all the way ... into the basket.

“When it left my hand, I was thinking ‘that’s dead on,’ ” said Manifrang, who was soon swallowed up in a celebration on the court.

“It became so loud, almost deafening. People were charging at me. I was on the bottom of the pile and couldn’t breathe.”

When Brandon was able to get to his feet, he began looking for his father, an assistant coach for Union. But Mark was nowhere to be found. He had already been taken to the trainer’s room.

On his haunches beside the Union bench, Mark watched as Brandon’s shot found its mark. Overewhelmed by pride and excitement, Mark leaped into the air in celebration, tearing his achilles tendon in the process.

“My leg wasn’t working,” Mark said. “I was trying to get to Brandon because I thought he was going to get hurt in the celebration, but I was stumbling around.”

Jim Smiley, whose Neshannock team had just been beaten by the shot, came to Mark’s aid and helped his friend back to the bench.

Mark ended up at Jameson Hospital, where he was treated and released. He was in a cast above the knee for 13 weeks.

“They watched it (the shot) on film later,” Mark said. “You could see me falling forward.”

After consoling his father, Brandon remembered, “We had a good laugh.”

People still recall the amazing shot.

“Whenever I see any teammates or their parents, they usually bring it up,” Brandon said.

Coincidentally, Mark made a special shot of his own 30 years earlier when playing for the Scotties. During Union’s WPIAL semifinal loss to Albert Gallatin at the Pitt Fieldhouse in 1968, Mark drained a half-court shot just before halftime.

“They tried to roll the ball up the floor but I ran in front and scooped it up and let it go.”
David Burcham
New Castle News
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