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Bakke gives a moment of magic to Fergus Golden Eagle

 

February 16, 2017

Havre Daily News/Floyd Brandt

Havre High School student and Blue Pony basketball player Ryan Bakke holds a ball on the Havre High basketball court. Bakke received statewide attention when he allowed the Fergus County High School basketball team manager to score a basket during a game in Lewistown.

Fergus High School senior Luke Derheim says one of the best moments of his life happened Feb. 4, when the Havre High School Blue Ponies came to town and he scored the first basket of his life in a varsity game, prompting the home crowd to erupt and chant his name.

"It was indescribable, just to be able to get in. It was insane," Derheim said Wednesday. "It was once of the best moments of my life."

Lewistown won the game, 59-49.

A Youtube video of the last few seconds of the game showing Derheim going to the basket and Havre basketball player Ryan Bakke letting him score has gone viral.

"I saw him next to me, and the second we got the ball, I knew kind of that was going to happen," Bakke said. "He got the ball, and I just knew that was the one shot, so I just needed to step off and let him do his thing. It was pretty cool for me, too, because we started playing in the seventh grade. Just being there was pretty cool for me."

Havre's head coach Curt Leeds said, "Ryan did a great thing there, and you really gotta hand it to Luke though. Hasn't played all season - hasn't suited up all season - had the courage to dress out when his coach allowed him to, he had the courage to go in the game when he got the opportunity to play, and he executed and made the basket, which made it just that much more of a special moment."

Derheim has been the team manager for the Golden Eagles basketball team. He has tried out for the team every year but has been unable to make it. He said he hadn't dressed for a game since his freshman year.

Derheim has phenylketonuria, or PKU, a condition that prohibits his body from breaking down proteins, which consequently affects the amount of physical strain he can put on his body. Derheim said he doesn't eat proteins as a result, and he drinks a protein-substitute drink three times a day.

Fergus High Coach Scott Sparks has been coaching the Golden Eagles two years, but said he has known Derheim a lot longer.

"If you've grown up in Lewistown, you've known Luke," Sparks said.

Sparks said Derheim has been in the Lewistown sports circuit since the student was young. He said everyone likes Derheim and described him as "one of those kids you can't not love."

Sparks said he and his fellow coaches wanted to do something special for Derheim in the game against Havre. Saturday would be senior night and Sparks thought it would be a good night to for Derheim, should the circumstances allow, play.  

During the game, Derheim said, his hopes of playing waned as Havre mounted a comeback. The lead for the Golden Eagles had dissipated as the game continued.

It was a technical foul, Havre High's coach Curt Leeds said, that enabled the opposing senior team manager to get a shot.

"It was a close game," Leeds said. "We were in the middle of battling back, we were down a little bit down at the start, but we were battling back. We ended up getting a technical foul, and they kind of made two free throws and that separated the game, and when that happened, they put in Luke Derheim the last 30 seconds of the game."

"At 26 seconds, we were able to get him in the game," Sparks said.

The video shows, with less than five seconds to go, Derheim catching a pass from a teammate and sprinting toward the basket and making a layup and Bakke being the closest defender. Bakke did not move to defend the basket, and Derheim scored his first varsity basket.

"You couldn't ask for a more perfect moment," Sparks said. "A lot of tears in the crowd."

 

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