Spencer Wilson wasn't supposed to be on the court for Bishop McGuinness High's big rivalry game against Mount Airy last month. In March 2010, doctors gave the Kernersville, N.C. 17-year-old a seven percent chance to survive a second battle with tissue cancer. When he was 13, doctors found a malignant tumor in his leg and removed it. After chemotherapy, it was believed to have gone into remission, but the cancer had spread and doctors expected the worst.
"I just had to keep my faith in God and trust that He had a plan for my life," Spencer told WFMY.
Despite the dire odds, Spencer fought through six months of chemotherapy and has had clean checkups since June 2011. He had a partner in the fight, Josh Rominger, who also had cancer. Josh's faith united his friends at Davie High School, and many of his friends wore wristbands with his favorite verse, Philippians 4:13 ("I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.").
The two became fast friends through their common struggle, but Josh didn't make it. He died in April 2013.
When Spencer's coach asked the team to dedicate the game to someone who's inspired them, he immediately thought of his fallen friend. He wrote Josh's name on the old basketball where the team put their dedications.
However, it looked like McGuinness would come up just short. They were down by one with two seconds left when Mt. Airy chose to miss a second free throw and let the clock run out. But the ball bounced into Spencer's hands, and he heaved a Hail Mary shot 50 feet down the court. It went in.
McGuinness coach Josh Thompson put the miracle shot into perspective.
"I don't know that the Lord cares about who wins a basketball game, but I know that he cares about its people," he told WFMY.
Spencer believes his shot and his friendship with Josh are meant for much more than just a viral video.
"God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. I think he used that shot in that game as a platform so I can share my faith with other people," he said. "And maybe it will lead some other people to Christ."