Updated at 1:35 p.m. Feb. 14 with comments from Head Coach Russell Ham
Shane Staton took the ball, drove the lane and made the winning shot with two seconds remaining in Wednesday's CIF Southern Section Division 3AAA playoff game against Palm Springs.
The win moves Murrieta Mesa into the second round of playoffs.
Palm Springs, ranked seventh in the division, came out fast and furious and took a 22-17 lead at the end of the first period. The Rams battled back in the second and held the Indians to just four points, leading 31-26 at the half.
Palm Springs would not fold. The Indians came on strong in the third period and outscored the Rams 23-10 to take an eight-point lead into the final period.
Murrieta Mesa held fast and rallied to pull away with the win. The Rams made up the eight-point difference with a tough defensive effort, holding the Indians to 11 points while scoring 21 in the final frame.
With the score deadlocked at 60, the Rams pulled off the victory in the final two seconds on Staton’s drive.
"He looked at me during the time-out and said, 'I got this,'" said Murrieta Mesa Head Coach Russell Ham.
Staton was the Rams' player of the game. He led the team with 20 points and seven rebounds. Khalil Sharpe added 14 points, Austin Bryant nine, Trevon Session eight and Shondell Smith seven. Andrew Smith also scored four points against the Indians.
“It was a great high school with many lead changes and clutch plays at the end," Ham said. “I felt we executed our offensive and defensive game plan really well. We were patient on both ends. Khalil’s free-throw and lay-up at the end put us up three but it was Shane Staton’s clutch lay-up with 2 seconds that put us over the top.”
The Rams travel to Brea Olinda Friday night to face the Wildcats in a round two playoff game.
“This was not only huge for the program but for the school as well. It’s the first CIF win in any sport in school history.”