The tale of Blake Peters started on Jan. 26, 2018, in ETHS’ Beardsley Gymnasium. Blake was a freshman on the ETHS boys basketball varsity team and the Kits had a game against Maine South.
The two teams battled it out in a low-scoring game until the last minute. Maine South was up 44-42 and was at the line to shoot a free throw. The game looked all but over for the Kits. There were only 2.6 seconds left on the clock. As fans were heading for the exits, the free throw rattled out and fell into the hands of ETHS freshman Blake Peters. With few options, Peters threw up a prayer and the ball from more than 80 feet away. The ball rattled through the hoop, and the moment would change Blake’s life forever.
Teammates and fans mobbed the court, attacking and tackling Blake to the ground. Those fans still in the stands were in ecstatic. You can watch the amazing play here:
“When it went in, I was shocked,” Peters said after the game.
Videos and reactions from the shot quickly went viral. The full-court heave spread like a wildfire throughout Instagram and Twitter and eventually made its way to ESPN’s “Top 10 Plays” segment. Evanston mayor Steve Hagerty decreed Jan. 29 “Blake Peters Day” in Evanston.
Peters went on to have a standout career at ETHS as a rare four-year varsity starter. At graduation, the sharp-shooting guard wasn’t done playing organized basketball; he committed to the Princeton Tigers class of 2025 for basketball.
During his freshman year, Peters averaged only 1.3 points per game. The Tigers won the conference in the regular season but lost in the Ivy League championship to Yale. The team ultimately missed the NCAA Tournament.
But during his sophomore year, his playing took a massive leap. The 6’1” guard averaged over 13 minutes and 6 points per game. The Tigers came in second in the conference but won the Ivy League championship, clinching an NCAA Tournament bid.
The Tigers were seeded 15th and were playing the No. 2 seeded Arizona Wildcats in the round of 64 in Sacramento. They were expected to lose by 14 points and were +900 according to Vegas odds.
Princeton outlasted the Wildcats and won the game 59-55, defying all expectations. Peters scored 9 points on three 3’s, shooting at a 60% clip. His biggest shot of the night was a three-pointer with 6:29 to go in the second half, putting the team down only 3 points, 51-48. This three-pointer ignited the Tigers’ run to victory.
The team’s next matchup was No. 7 seeded Missouri Tigers. Princeton was underdogs yet again and was projected to lose by 6.5 points.
But the team continued to shock the nation and destroyed Mizzou, 78-63. Peters had the best game of his collegiate career with 17 points, tying his career high. He poured in five threes and a pair of free throws. Princeton is heading to its first ever Sweet 16.
Following the win, Peters was interviewed by TNT on national television. When asked about his stellar performance and the Princeton win, the former star Wildkit echoed Kevin Garnett’s iconic words:
“Anything is possible!”
Will Klearman is a freshman at Evanston Township High School and writes for the student newspaper, The Evanstonian.
This is the best report so far that I have seen of Blake Peters’ performance. Amazing to me that most Chicago media outlets have said nothing. (FYI, I graduated from Princeton, have been out of the country for the past 2 1/2 months, and when I saw the name ‘Blake Peters’ in a story about Princeton’s victories, I said to myself…wasn’t there an ETHS bball player by that name???
I was at Beardsley for the game with my grandson—sitting behind the east side basket—–interestingly enough it happened to be the televised channel 26 game of the week—-shame on me I’d gotten up and was putting my jacket on—-however the ever optimistic mind of a 5th grader, my grandson said “there’s still time”—-yeah, a 1.5 seconds—-a moment later Blake rebounded the missed free throw and the rest is history—-pandemonium broke out in the stands—-hugging and high fiveing people we didn’t even know…should be noted since we were viewing behind Blake, and he literally fired it one handed like a football—-it seriously looked like it might hit the ceiling—-imagine the strength and agility required for a freshman to even pull off a throw like that was uncanny…Blake is one of the greatest ballers in ETHS history and I know we’re all proud of him and his continued amazing accomplishments—-Go Princeton!
This is a first-rate story and a terrific piece of writing. It is good to see a linkup between the RoundTable and the Evanstonian, the well-edited student paper at ETHS.
Indeed Ray—-extremely well written piece by Will—-and a freshman no less!—-wish I’d noticed article was written by an ETHS student for The Evanstonian—-great to see!
“Princeton is heading to its first ever Sweet 16.” Not true. In the 1960s, with Bill Bradley, Princeton made the final four. And I thought there was a later visit to the sweet sixteen, maybe not.
I was Princeton class of 1964