Bradley came roaring back. Saunders floated in a rebound shot. Mason bombed from outside with two men on him. Aawoooohh.... The speaker rattled. Bradley was called for traveling. Booohaaa....
Time was running out. Bradley was down by one. The Braves got the ball and called time-out with less than two minutes to play. There was a chance, just a chance.
The boy began to pray for a miracle to equal the glorious pile of crutches at Lourdes. He began praying against Cincinnati. He wanted the Bearcats to die. He prayed for the roof to cave in on their heads. Silently, he cursed.
Bradley brought the ball in and fed it to Chet Walker. He took it to the hole and stuffed. Bradley was up by one. Cincinnati dribbled up the court. With one shot they could still win. The boy on his bed prayed for a steal, a turnover, anything.
The miracle happened; Robinson stepped out of bounds trying to drive the baseline on Mason, and Bradley got the ball.
Somebody fouled Mike Owens, Bradley's ball handler. It was one-and-one and everybody knew that if he missed Cincinnati would rebound, give the ball to Oscar and he'd score. Owens stepped to the line in silence.
The boy had been saving his biggest gun for the end, hoping it would not have to be used. But now he had to use it.
"My Confirmation means nothing to me," he said out loud. "Satan, give me a basket."
Owens shot. Swish.
"Beelzebub," the boy whispered, "give me another."