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(2016) Half-court shot nets WCSU student $5,000

Image William Alfiere with Colonial Chuck and WCSU cheerleaders following his successful half-court shot.DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University senior William Alfiere, of Beacon Falls, had his 15 minutes of fame on Wednesday night (Jan. 27, 2016) when his ticket number was called during a Colonials basketball game and he was given the opportunity to attempt a half-court shot for the chance to win $5,000 toward his tuition.

Alfiere, a Dean’s List student who is studying justice and law administration at WCSU, was the senior captain of his high school basketball team in Beacon Falls, but does not play for the university.

“I was at the game and decided to enter the contest and take a shot at the $5,000,” he said. “It sounded fun. When my ticket number was called, I was very excited, thinking ‘wow.'”

As members of the WCSU cheerleading squad lined both sides of the free throw area, Alfiere was given the ball at half court.

Was he nervous? “You feel people watching you,” he said. “I haven’t been in the spotlight on the court like that for a while.”

As his shot hit nothing but net, the Feldman Arena at the O’Neill Center erupted into cheers. Alfiere said at that moment he was somewhat in shock.

“I didn’t expect to make it,” he said. “You throw a shot up like that every now and then for fun, but you never expect it to go in. Even Steph Curry would probably only make it one out of every 10 times, and he’s the best shooter, you know? But as soon as I shot it, I knew it was going to go in. It’s one of those feelings you have as a basketball player.”

Because it’s so unlikely that a half-court shot will hit the mark, Alfiere’s family initially did not believe him when he shared the news.

“I sent a family group text to my parents and my brother and sister telling them what I had just done, and none of them believed me,” Alfiere said. “Nothing like that ever happens to our family. We don’t have luck like that.”

Even cell phone video from fellow students who witnessed Alfiere’s feat failed to convince his skeptical family – for a while. Then it ‘sunk in’ and they shared in the jubilation.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity to take the shot,” Alfiere said. “It was a cool thing.”

The half-court contest was sponsored by the university’s Student Government Association, Center for Student Involvement and Office of Student Affairs.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.