by Sue Ann Rybak
The crowd went wild when Mt. Airy resident Koron English, 40, banked a 3-point shot at the buzzer to win $5,000 worth of braces from Top of the Hill Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry at Hoops Madness held at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 500 W. Willow Grove Ave. in Chestnut Hill, on Saturday, March 23.
English, who just found out last week that his 10-year-old son Kaden needs braces, had 20 seconds to make a layup, a free throw and a 3-point shot. He missed the foul shot twice before putting it in with seconds on the clock. His 3-pointer – taken from approximately half court – passed through the basket at the buzzer.
“I was panicking after I missed the two foul shots,” he said. “There was only like five seconds on the clock, and I had to run to the half-court.”
English, who grew up playing basketball on various leagues with his brother Jerome, said he was shocked when it went in.
It was a shot most professional players only dream about – making a half-court shot before the buzzer for the win.
English said he didn’t plan on registering for the contest.
“I thought, ‘let me fill it out and see what happens,’” he said.
Ironically, Koron and a few other fathers were gathered at their kids’ basketball practice at the Water Tower Recreation Center on Friday night when the boys’ basketball coach persuaded the fathers to shoot a few baskets in preparation.
Jake Orozco, owner of Top of the Hill Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, 8705 Germantown Ave. in Chestnut Hill, said the moment “felt a little bit magical.”
“Everybody was sort of riveted,” he said. “We were really happy for the family. It was really exciting. Everybody rushed in. I am sure the father was reliving his glory days. Hollywood couldn’t have written it better.”
He added that it’s wonderful “to be part of this community” and “remind kids that anything is possible.”
Chestnut Hill resident Brien Tilley, tournament chairman and a former president of the Chestnut Hill Community Association, said the event “couldn’t have asked for more of a storybook ending.”
“The day was amazing,” he said. “The Orozcos’ generosity has blown me away. We decided to start the event with the contest because it’s the only time when everybody is in the same gym.”
Tilley said it seemed unbelievable.
“The fact that English just learned last week that his son needed braces,” he said. “That Koron practiced just in case he got picked, and then for Jake’s son to pull Koron’s name out of the bowl. What are the chances? And then, he made the 3-point [shot] on the buzzer. Koron is a pretty jovial guy. I think it happened for a reason. Jake put it out there into the world. I don’t think anyone who was there will ever forget.”
Tilley said that thanks to the generosity of the sponsors and volunteers, Hoops Madness was once again an enjoyable day full of smiles.
This article has been updated. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that English made a half-court shot for the win. It should have said he made a 3-point shot for the win. Also, Orozco was spelled incorrectly in the first version.
All slideshow photos by Sue Ann Rybak