PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Presque Isle High School waited two years for someone to be able to tackle its half-court basketball shot challenge for a chance to win some serious cash.

Jacob Sjoberg answered the call.

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, Sjoberg had his raffle ticket picked for the opportunity to make a half court shot for $2,600. Despite all the pressure, Sjoberg persevered and made the shot — the first time anyone has successfully sank the shot in two years

Sjoberg was a basketball player at Presque Isle High School until his graduation in 2019. He was also a starting sweeper for the varsity soccer team during its 2018 state championship run. Currently, Sjoberg is in his junior year at the University of Maine at Presque Isle studying mathematics.

It also helps that he comes from a basketball family. His sister, Faith, just wrapped up her senior year at PIHS, becoming a 1,000 point scorer and setting a single-game MPA Class B tourney record  for most 3-pointers made in a game.

Jacob Sjoberg recalls feeling thrilled when his number was called, immediately thinking about the right way to make the shot. Even with his past skill, Sjoberg knew that a part of the shot was going to rely on luck. Originally, Sjoberg was aiming to get the shot close enough to give it a chance.

As Sjoberg set up to take the shot, a deafening silence fell over the gym. Taking a couple of steps back, he got a running start, releasing the ball in a perfect arc and getting a perfect swish through the basket. The gym exploded in cheers and applause before the ball hit the ground.

Through confusion and disbelief, Sjoberg managed to pull out a dance to celebrate his victory.

Jacob Sjoberg, pictured with his sister Faith after she scored her 1,000th career point in basketball Credit: Courtesy of Jacob Sjoberg

“I couldn’t believe it when the shot first went in,” Sjoberg said. “After it registered in my brain, I knew I had to put on a little show for the fans.”

This wasn’t Sjoberg’s first attempt at a half court shot. When he was in sixth grade, Sjoberg was called to make a half court shot before he could even get the ball to the hoop.

“I remember being so embarrassed at my pathetic attempt,” Sjoberg said. “It made this shot almost poetic.”

With $2,600 in the bank, Sjoberg says he will likely end up investing the money. However, even after making such a big money shot, Sjoberg still says that seeing his sister Faith score her 1,000th career point, was far better than winning the money.

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David DiMinno

David grew up in New York, and moved to Maine to study political science at the University of Maine. In his spare time, he loves hiking, playing tennis and skiing.