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There are two dreams every young athlete has. One, is to be the last team standing and raising the championship trophy.
Short of that, the next-best thing is to score the game-winning points as time expires.
Sacred Heart Prep senior center Charlie Selna got a chance to live out that second dream. The 6-7 senior dropped home a layup at the buzzer to give the Gators a 55-53 overtime win over Branson in the second round of the Northern California Division II bracket. It was one of three strong outings for Selna last week, helping him to Daily Journal Athlete of the Week honors.
“That was probably the first time in my life I hit a buzzer beater,” Selna said. “I thought there was time still on the clock, but when all my teammates started jumping around, I looked up and saw there was no time on the clock. It was kind of surreal. I never experienced that kind of vibe before.”
Said SHP head coach Tony Martinelli: “We weren’t going to settle for a 3, so we wanted to get the ball inside.”
That bucket gave him 10 points for the game to go along with 9 rebounds. He opened Nor Cal play against Alameda Tuesday with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist in a 61-40 win. He ended the season with 10 more points and 10 more rebounds in a 56-43 loss to St. Patrick-St. Vincent in a semifinal game Saturday in Vallejo.
In three Nor Cal games, Selna also had 11 blocks, including 7 against SPSV.
“He broke the school record for blocks — going away,” Martinelli said.
But there was a point when Selna’s senior season was in jeopardy.
“He broke his leg during the summer. We thought he could be gone the whole season,” Martinelli said.
Selna, too, thought his basketball season was danger. He missed most of the football season, returning toward the end. But it took him only a couple of days on the basketball court to know that everything would be OK.
“It was a hairline fracture of my tibia. … I didn’t know if I could run or jump this season,” Selna said. “After the first week I got back from football, I started to get my wind back, I knew I would be fine.”
Martinelli had big plans for Selna this season, who started his high school career as a perimeter player. But a growth spurt between his sophomore and junior year had him thinking of a position change.
“Back then, I was like barely 6-feet. I was more of a shooter back then,” Selna said. “But in my heart, I always was a post player. I always kind of felt out of position (on the perimeter).”
Martinelli is certainly glad he wanted to play on the block.
“He meant everything to our team, especially on defense. … What he did in the middle of the paint just made the defense so much better,” Martinelli said. “On offense, when he got the ball, he was so tough to stop down there. Between the dunks and … hook shots, he could do a little bit of everything. … The focus when we got in Nor Cals was to take advantage of the size we have in there.
“I just get really proud talking about him about how far he has come.”