VIDEO: Indiana cheerleaders save March Madness game by retrieving stuck ball

A pair of cheerleaders for Indiana University sprung into action and became the unlikeliest of March Madness heroes.

An Indiana cheerleader is lifted up to retrieve a basketball that became lodged on a camera mount at the top of the backboard during the second half of a first-round NCAA college basketball tournament game between St. Mary's and Indiana, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer) (Craig Mitchelldyer, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The best ballers on the court for the Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball team during its NCAA Tournament game Thursday may have been a pair of cheerleaders, reported.


After a ball got stuck on top of the backboard during Indiana’s game against the Saint Mary’s Gaels in Portland, Oregon, Hoosiers cheerleader Nathan paris hoisted teammate Cassidy Cerny 13 feet up into the air to retrieve it, saving the day and providing the tournament’s first viral moment.

The ball got stuck when Saint Mary’s was up 45-29 early in the second half. A referee stood on a folding chair and tried to poke the ball free with a mop handle, but he wasn’t able to reach it.

That’s when the cheerleading squad got involved.

“They kept trying different ways and nothing really was working,” said Paris, who appeared with Cerny on “TODAY” Friday. “And so all of us kind of looked at each other and our captain, Ethan, (said), ‘We need the tallest guy to lift somebody up to see if we can get to the top of the backboard.’

“So, I’m one of the tallest on the team, so I grabbed Cassidy and said, ‘Maybe this’ll work,’” he said.

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About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.