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Chavez’s game-winning shot goes national on ESPN

Natalia Chavez hugs the championship trophy tight to her chest as she walks off the court after beating Hobbs. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

At 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon, almost exactly 24 hours after a historic shot where hyperbole intersected with reality, Natalia Chavez was still trending as New Mexico’s hottest sports celebrity.

“It’s been crazy,” she said Sunday. “After the game, I couldn’t go to sleep, because of what happened.”

For those who’ve been off the grid, what happened was this: Chavez, a junior guard for the Volcano Vista girls basketball team, on Saturday night won the Class 5A state championship for her team with a half-court shot at the overtime buzzer.

Before the end of the night, video of the shot had found its way to, for national consumption.

And on Sunday night, ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter, ranked the shot No. 2 on its daily top-10 list. Chavez could hardly make sense of it.

“I’m honestly speechless,” Chavez said late Sunday night.

Her excitement level in the afternoon had not diminished much from where it was on Saturday at about 5:30 p.m., when her 3-pointer, banked in off the glass, gave the Hawks a 52-49 victory over Hobbs at the Pit.

How many times, she was asked, had she watched the video of her shot?

“I’ve watched it from every angle,” she said. “I’ve watched it over and over and over. I’ve watched it since the end of the game. I keep watching it. I don’t even know how many times I’ve watched it.”

Sunday, millions of people around the country watched it on ESPN.

Her phone, she said, has been blowing up nonstop since the end of Saturday’s final.

“Since the end of the game yesterday, when I was eating dinner, I had like a hundred and seven missed messages that I had to open,” she said. There were over 100 Instagram messages and over 100 postings on Snapchat, she added.

“The messages keep coming in today,” she said, although it was clear she was enjoying the ride. “People are asking me, ‘How did you know when to take that shot?’ ”

After looking at the video repeatedly, Chavez — who has Division I college offers from New Mexico, New Mexico State and, most recently, Colorado State — said she determined that the ball left her hand with 0.3 seconds remaining.

Video from KRQE:

Volcano Vista’s Natalia Chavez shot of a lifetime makes the national stage

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