As Dr. Palmer battled Clear View Window Cleaning late in the second overtime last Monday in the opening round of the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League playoffs, DeQuan Holman proved to be in the right place at the right time.
With third-seeded Dr. Palmer ahead 40-39 in the waning seconds of the contest, former Princeton High star Holman seized the advantage after a turnover, getting open on the wing and putting in a layup to stretch the lead to 42-39. Moments later, when No. 6 Clear View was looking to hit a three and extend the marathon nailbiter, Holman was on the receiving end of a botched pass and dribbled out the clock as Dr. Palmer survived by that 42-39 margin.
After it was over, a sweating, winded Holman headed to a corner of the John Witherspoon gym to catch his breath.
“We both played hard,” said Holman. “With the layoff that we had coming in here from our last game to this one, we started off pretty good with defense. But they slowed the game down and got back into it. From there, we couldn’t make shots and we struggled a little bit. They played a tough game as well.”
In the early stages of the contest, Holman was playing tough, scoring seven points as Dr. Palmer built a 20-15 halftime lead.
“I was moving around
early, I got a couple of steals early but then it stopped coming so easy,” said Holman.
Things became even harder for Dr. Palmer when Mike Scott was ejected with 5:28 left in regulation.
“That was a tough situation especially with him being athletic as he is,” said Holman, who scored a game-high 15 points on the evening with Mike Snider tallying 12 to lead Clear View.
“That’s a big piece missing for us. The game is played on the floor and not on paper. Whatever is going to happen out there, we are going to try our hardest. We had to adjust; we were able to and we got the win.
By virtue of winning its game, Dr. Palmer will face second-seeded Sneakers Plus, a 45-34 victor over Northeast Realty in the first round, on July 26 in the semis. WTG topped Princeton Youth Sports 40-20 to advance to a quarterfinal matchup on July 24 with top-seeded Winberie’s. Fourth-seeded Ivy Inn will face No. 5 PA Blue Devils in the other quarter that evening.
The winners of the Wednesday games will meet in the other semifinal on Friday. The best-of-three championship series will begin on July 29.
Holman, who helped University Radiology to the 2011 crown, is hoping to make a similar impact in his first season with Dr. Palmer.
“I just want to bring my game to the team,” said Holman. “I just wanted to come in and be a contributor any way possible and I don’t think they have slipped too far from where they were last year or the year before.”
In Holman’s view, Dr. Palmer’s hard-earned win on Monday could help it go far in the playoffs.
“To get a tough game like that out of the way in the first round sets us up,” said Holman. “But nothing is going to come easy here, we are not going to be expected to get anything but we are going to work hard for everything.”