BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- MacDaniel Young rediscovered his signature move just in time.
The Paine College forward punctuated a furious second-half rally with a baby left-handed hook as time expired in Thursday's thrilling 83-82 victory over Lane College. The junior's buzzer-beating shot in the second-round of the Southern Interscholastic Athletic Conference tournament at the Alabama State Fairgrounds Arena completed a incomparable comeback.
Young's trademark shot has been mysteriously missing this season after it carried Paine (13-13) to the 1999 SIAC championship and an NCAA Division II Tournament berth. The Lions trailed the Dragons (15-10) for 31 minutes before a 19-5 run propelled them to a 78-73 lead with 49 seconds remaining.
Lane outscored Paine 7-2 before Young ended its season. Terrance Price put the Dragons up 82-81 with 2.2 seconds on the game clock.
On the in-bounds play, Paine's full-court pass was deflected out of bounds on the Lions' half of the floor. It proved to be a "blessing" to coach Ron Spry as only two-tenths of a second ticked away.
With two seconds to work with, Young received the ball on the right block. The 6-foot-4 Hephzibah native dribbled twice, spun and released his pet shot. Before the horn sounded, the entire Paine lineup was racing to the locker room victorious.
"That's the shot that helped us win the championship game last year," Spry said. "I'm glad he decided to make it at this time."
Paine advances to today's SIAC semifinals at 7 p.m.
Young declined an interview request after scoring 13 points, making eight assists and grabbing eight rebounds.
Anthony Robinson contributed nine of the Lions' final 23 points including 5-of-5 free-throw shooting during the last 3:32. Robinson, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds, was encouraged to see Young unleash his lethal hook.
"That's his shot," Robinson said. "That's what took us last year. If he can get it back, it's a great thing."
Yari Scott had a game-high 24 points including a 3-pointer to give Paine a 70-69 lead at the 2:10 mark of the second half. The Lions had not led since owning a 5-4 advantage with 15:12 remaining in the opening period.
Lane routinely scored transition baskets to establish a 59-45 margin with 9:10 left in the contest. Paine elevated its defensive intensity in the game's final five minutes, resulting in 3-of-11 shooting by the Dragons.
The Lions also capitalized on three Lane turnovers to reclaim the lead.
"We had to pick it up on defense," Spry said. "The key to our success has always been defense."
Spry's emphasis on free-throw shooting was also instrumental in Paine's win. Lane defeated the Lions 69-66 two weeks ago when Paine shot 11-of-28 from the foul line. Thursday, Paine converted 16 of 20 free throws.
"Since that game, we've been working on our free throws," Robinson said. "With our free throws, we can go a long way."
After three early lead changes, Paine rattled off six unanswered points to claim a 9-4 lead with 14:22 remaining in the first half.
A 9-0 spurt by the Dragons gave Lane a 13-9 lead at the 12:12 mark of the first half. Dragons point guard Sammy Clark orchestrated his team's offense with jaw-dropping no-look passes and a quintet of 3-pointers. Clark scored 23 points to go along with 11 assists.
Paine trailed 35-20 after a 22-7 Lane run but trimmed the deficit to 37-26 by halftime.
Reach Jimmy DeButts at (706) 823-3221.
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