Junior guard Mike Palmer wants the ball in his hands in a close game. And with his Northeast Raiders in a struggle against rival Southwest, it was time for Palmer to do what he does best Tuesday night.
Clinging to a 46-44 lead with less than two minutes left, Palmer scored six of the next eight points and assisted on the other basket to lead the Raiders to a 56-54 win.
Brown, a self-proclaimed pass-first point guard, also woke up a stagnant Raiders offense in the first half. With his team trailing 19-13, thanks mainly to the efforts of Southwest’s Terrence Chatman, Palmer drilled three 3-pointers to pull the Raiders even at halftime.
“I just felt good shooting the ball,” Palmer said. “They were open 3s, and I need to be able to drop those. I felt like my teammates did a great job of getting me the ball off their penetration.”
Palmer also gave his teammates the credit for letting him have control of the ball at the end of close games.
“I feel like if I keep the ball in their hands during the game that they will trust me enough at the end of the game to have the ball in my hands,” he said. “I definitely want the ball in my hands at the end of the game.”
Northeast head coach Dartez Talbott, whose team had lost two out of its previous three games, saw good things in a rival game.
“We know Southwest is going to play us tough,” he said. “We have not been playing our best basketball, but we are still finding ways to win. A.J Cornelius gave us energy in the third quarter when we needed it and has become a defensive force, as well as Deonte Gainey. We have hit a rough patch, but we will continue to try and work through it and play our best basketball when we need to.”
For Southwest coach Grady Caldwell, the game offered the same story he has seen all year.
“I told our guys we played good enough to win but just could not get over the hump at the end,” Caldwell said. “We have played so many close games this year, i just really think it will help us when we get to tournament time. That is really our goal now, to get ready for the region tournament.”
Palmer led the Raiders with 19 points while Chatman had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Patriots
Northeast’s Raiderrettes made it a clean sweep, beating the Lady Patriots 56-43.
Maria Bond had 14 points, while Erica Travet and Jerryshia Williams both had 12.
Angelia Hill had a game-high 22 for Southwest.