“He says he’s 5-foot-10,” Coach Kent Kling said after the game. “He’s probably 5-8.”
“I’m 5-9,” Hundertmark said. “With shoes on.”
At Saturday night’s championship game, Hundertmark, a junior, made sure his size would be only a footnote. In every other way, the supernova of a point guard was the biggest player on the floor: He scored 18 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead Stone Bridge past Green Run, 86-78, to secure the state title.
This was Stone Bridge’s first appearance in a state final, so the Bulldogs (16-1) had no frame of reference for the onslaught unleashed in their gym Saturday night. In the first eight minutes, Green Run shot 5 for 9 on three-pointers, was 9 for 10 on two-point baskets and scored 36 points on 17 possessions.
But experience is only one way to acquire the boldness to stare down an 18-point deficit in the first quarter of a state championship game. Some players come by it naturally. Hundertmark is one of those players.
“It’s a mentality,” he said. “I was born with it.”
With 7:35 left, the Bulldogs still trailed by 10, at which point Hundertmark carried them the rest of the way. He started by driving end-to-end for a layup through contact, plus a free throw. He fought for an offensive rebound, called a timeout and then, out of the break, fired a three-pointer that rolled around the rim and in.
“He’s got that moxie,” said Kling, the second-year coach who said the first thing that struck him about Hundertmark was the point guard’s willingness to take big shots. “It doesn’t matter if the guy’s a foot taller than him.”
Jacob Thomas also scored 27 for Stone Bridge, but Hundertmark was the closer.
Another driving layup tied the score at 66. Finally, the dagger: After Hundertmark let a jumper fly, the whistle blew and the shot dropped through the hoop, the star of the night turned around, pumped his fists and roared. The night belonged to him.
On a night when his team followed his lead, Hundertmark disappeared into a mass of bodies celebrating a most improbable victory. When it was time to cut down the net, a ladder appeared. The star of the night — who stood 5-foot-something, just as tall as he needed to be — ascended to the top and took his piece.