VIDEO: Jones’ buzzer-beater sends Indians to Regionals
By Kyle Parmley
For the Tribune
PINSON — Cedric Lane must have known something no one else did.
After sending his kids back onto the floor with 6.7 seconds remaining, the Pinson Valley head coach turned around and began erasing his white board, on which he drew up the final play.
He calmly looked at his assistant coaches and said, “We’re fine.”
It was Colby Jones who corralled the errant shot and nestled it into the hoop, sending Mike Dutton Gymnasium into a frenzy and giving Pinson Valley a 53-52 win over Ramsay in a Class 6A Northeast Sub-Regional game on Tuesday night.
“Somebody made a play,” Lane said after the dust settled. “It wasn’t exactly what I drew up, but these guys made a play. Sometimes somebody’s got to make a play. They fought through it and made a play on an offensive rebound and made the play.”
The play was designed for Orion Morris to get a mid-range jumper, but he was guarded well, and was forced to take a contested shot fading away. The shot flew over the rim, into the arms of Jones.
After the Indians increased their lead to eight early in the fourth quarter, Ramsay clawed back into the game thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Brandon Houston – who led the Rams with 18 points, most of them coming in the second half – and one from Baniko Harley.
A JaCorie Gray jumper gave the Rams a 50-49 lead with less than two minutes to play. Gray added a layup moments later, before Amari Phillips scored his only basket of the night to bring Pinson Valley back to within a point, setting up the final play after Ramsay missed the front end of a one-and-one.
“I told them we messed up but I told them we’re fine,” Lane said. “I told them before I drew up the last play, ‘this is the fun part.’”
Pinson Valley held a 42-35 lead after three quarters, thanks in large part to Chris Lewis’ efforts, as he scored the last six Indian points of the period to extend the lead. After Ramsay took a 30-29 edge early in the third, Pinson Valley finished the period on a 13-5 run.
Neither team gained much separation in the first half, as there were just three total trips to the free throw line in an otherwise intense and physical contest. Jones got the Indians going early with three 3s in the opening frame, as Pinson opened up a 15-11 edge.
Jones scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the first half, as the Indians took a 23-21 advantage into the locker room.
Liallen Dailey cashed in a handful of chances down low, and scored nine points for the Indians, followed by eight from Morris.
With the win, Pinson Valley advances to the Northeast Regional, its first berth since 2009. The Indians will take on Oxford at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.
The impact of returning to that stage of the postseason was not lost on Lane.
“It means everything to us, because we all started to build from the ground up,” he said. “These kids are believing and we’re ready to roll and see how far we can take it.”