A film of this game. Near the end of the following decade, the people of Stevenson will still be searching. At dusk one summer day Chad's father will sit at home, thinking about it. "I'd give anything to get that tape," he'll say. "If I had the money, I'd put out a reward."
Frank Cobb lugs his camcorder to most of his son's games. But tonight, late in a mediocre season, he decides the Chiefs are a waste of tape. Later he will look back on the mistakes in his life and conclude this was the biggest.
Nevertheless, Frank and others will swear they saw camcorders in the bleachers that night, at least one and as many as three, over on the Fort Payne side. They'll conclude that whoever made those tapes must have set them on fire.
The shot is missed. Chiefs with the rebound.
Five seconds. Four. Three. Chiefs still down by two.
Travis Smith down, he pulls it up—
Travis will think back on this game 16 years later, and it will give him chills. He grew up with Robert and Chad in Stevenson, playing backyard ball on the iron-rich clay. One day in agricultural-science class when the teacher wasn't looking, he and Chad conspired to climb through the suspended ceiling and liberate Little Debbies from the snack room.
—we've got a whistle.... Wai-ait a minute. It's not over yet.... No time shows on the clock.... Travis Smith goes to the line.... And he will get three because he was shooting from three-point range when he was fouled.
Travis bounces the Wilson Jet-Pro on the hardwood. Every day at the end of practice he shoots free throws and doesn't stop until he's made 10 in a row.
He hits the first. It's a one-point game.