An unlikely hero emerged during the first round of last week’s men’s NCAA tournament game between Indiana and Saint Mary’s as a Hoosiers cheerleader rescued a stray basketball that lodged itself atop the backboard. A viral video emerged of Cassidy Cerny saving the day in what became one of the most memorable moments from the first weekend of March Madness.
After her daring rescue, and a fantastic accompanying broadcast call from CBS Sports’ Andrew Catalon, Cerny earned a name, image and likeness deal with sports apparel company Breaking T. A T-shirt has been designed to commemorate the moment Cerny skyed above the backboard to retrieve the ball, with the shirt caption reading “The cheerleader saves the day.”
Cerny and her stunt partner, Nathan Paris, succeeded where others had failed after the ball got stuck under the shot clock early in the second half. After an official tried to position a chair underneath the ball, and Saint Mary’s players jumped from underneath to no avail, the Indiana cheerleaders made the feat look rather simple, even if it was anything but.
Unfortunately, the Hoosiers didn’t have much else to cheer for during their first-round game against the Gaels. No. 5 Saint Mary’s cruised in the second half, advancing to the second round with an 82–53 victory.
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