PRINCETON — A buzzer-beating shot does not have to come at the end of basketball game to help a team win. Ryan Meadows and the Princeton Tigers proved that Wednesday night.
Very late in the third quarter, Meadows got the ball with time for perhaps one dribble and a heave at the basket. He took the dribble, shot the ball and simply watched.
"I thought that it was going to hit the ceiling," Meadows said. "It didn't and then I thought that it looked like it could go. And it did!"
After the game, Princeton coach Ernie Gilliard said the shot gave his team a momentum boost heading into the fourth quarter. When Meadows' shot fell, the Tigers had watched as Saint Albans turned a six point halftime lead into a one point game in the third quarter.
"That just shows you that good things come to those who work," Gilliard said. "He just kept going until something good happened for his team. If we could only get every player on this team to work like [Meadows] does."
After the shot fell, the Tigers were able to focus on the fundamentals that Gilliard believed were lacking earlier in the game. The sudden focus, along with solid shooting from Hunter Walters, who had 18 points, allowed the Tigers to pull away from the upset-minded Red Dragons.
Saint Albans coach Marshall Kiser gave the Tigers a lot of credit for pulling together in the fourth quarter.
"I thought that we played pretty well," Kiser said. "We just tried to do a lot of different things on defense to slow [Princeton] down. [Princeton] played pretty well when it counted."
By the time the fourth quarter ended, Princeton had grown a 4 point lead, 49-45, into a 72-56 final score. Gilliard seemed hopeful the fourth quarter would help his team to get back to the fundamental basketball they played earlier in the season.
Meadows had 24 points and sophomore center Aaron Ferguson had 11, along with Walters' 18, to lead Princeton to the win. Nathan McNeil had 17 and post player Thad Moss had 9 to lead the Red Dragons in defeat.
The win moves Princeton to 10-2 on the season. Saint Albans falls to 4-6 with the loss.
Princeton's next game will be home against the Patriots of George Washington High School Friday night. Junior varsity tips off at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Saint Albans will play Spring Valley also at 5:30 p.m. (JV) and 7:30 p.m. (Varsity).
In the first game of the night, Princeton used a big first half to pull away from Saint Albans. The final score was 76-42. Arrien Porterfield led the Tigers with 17 points. Quamise Carter had 9 to lead the Red Dragons.
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