The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 5, 2014

Palmer’s fadeaway lifts Princeton over Winfield

By Brian Woodson
For The Register-Herald

PRINCETON — Forty-three points was nice. The win was nicer.

Aaron Ferguson scored 43 points, but it was Jay Palmer who hit a fadeaway jumper in the lane with 1.5 seconds on the clock, leading Princeton to a thrilling 77-75 double-overtime win over Winfield on Saturday afternoon at Coach Ralph Ball Court.

“It was definitely a good win,” said Ferguson, who also had 22 rebounds for the Tigers. “It would have been kind of devastating if I had scored that many points and lost.”

It was Palmer who took the final shot for the Tigers, which took a timeout with 33.6 second left, and the plan was simple: Get the ball to Ferguson.

“Aaron Ferguson had a big game, he had 43 and that was what our game plan ended up being,” Palmer said. “They double teamed on him and it was hard to get it down there to him.”

That is when Palmer dribbled from the left side of the charity stripe, drove into the lane around a screen from Zen Clements, and put up a shot while falling away from the basket. It banked in with 1.5 seconds remaining on the clock.

“I took a drive and went around Zen Clements’ screen and just shot the shot and it went in,” Palmer said. “It was strongly contested, when I first went up it didn’t seem like it (was going in) so I had to readjust and make sure it went in.”

It did.

“It is a disappointing loss, but give them credit,” Winfield head coach Pat McGinnis said. “They played well and the kid hit a big shot at the end or we would have been going into three overtimes.”

Winfield was able to use its last timeout, which McGinnis had decided not to use earlier in the second overtime, but the Generals had to settle for a halfcourt shot by Taylor Hearn that deflected off the backboard.

“It is kind of a game of stages and a game of runs,” McGinnis said. “We had a little run there. In hindsight, now I wish I had taken timeout with 30 seconds to go instead of trying to run something, but you just don’t know what kids are going to do at this stage.

Zen Clements and Ferguson for 61 of Princeton’s 77 points. They also had 27 rebounds, including 22 from Ferguson and five by Clements.

“It really is a good win,” Ferguson said. “I am not really worried about scoring, I just want the win.”

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Winfield (5-2)

Toby Show 4 2-3 11, Colton Schoolcraft 2 0-0 6, Zach Fisher 6 0-0 14, John Bellomy 9 3-4 23, Brandon Wright 0 0-0 0, Heath Diehl 2 0-0 5, Taylor Hearn 5 1-1 14, William Hancock 1 0-0 2. Totals 29 6-8 75.

Princeton (3-3)

Colton Fix 1 0-2 2, Ian Southcott 2 0-1 6, Zen Clements 6 6-7 18, Ashton O’Dell 1 0-0 2, Aaron Ferguson 17 9-12 43, Mason Kroll 0 0-0 0, Jay Palmer 2 2-2 6, Logan McKinney 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 17-24 77.

W    19    19    9    20    5    3    —    75

P    18    13    22    14    5    5    —    77

3-point goals: WF 11 (Hearn 3, Schoolcraft 2, Fisher 2, Bellomy 2, Show 1, Diehl 1); PR 2 (Southcott 2). Total fouls: 21; PR 11. Fouled out: Show. JV—PR 51 (Jacob Whittington 12, Garrison Hartwell 10); WF 48 (Brandon Jividen 17).