The date was Feb. 18, 2013. The Ellison Eagles basketball team was trailing Duncanville 36-29 late in the third quarter. This was the first round of the postseason.
Malik Malone, a sophomore reserve, was on the floor.
Then, within a 55-second span: Swish! Swish! Swish! Malone had canned three treys in a row.
And after that 55-second span, Ellison had the lead 38-36 — and never trailed again, ultimately prevailing 51-46.
“There are so many great memories I have here from playing for Ellison,” said Malone, now a senior. “But that game against Duncanville sticks out the most for me as my best memory. I was just a sophomore and was able to change the momentum of the game with my 3s.”
Ellison’s head coach Alberto Jones Jr. said he will never forget that contest.
“We were the underdogs that night,” Jones recalled. “We had controlled the first half, then they chipped away and eventually took that seven-point lead.
“So then Malik knocked down that first 3. Then, we picked them up in a full-court press and got a 10-second call.”
Then Jones called a play for Malone to take another trey.
“Then, after Malik made that 3,” Jones said, “I told our point guard, Ojai Black, to give it to Malik the next time down, too — because Malik could get very streaky. Malik hit that 3, and there it was: three 3s in under a minute.”
Having his head coach call plays for him meant as much to Malone as the canned shots.
“Here we are in a huge playoff game and coach Jones is showing complete faith in me,” Malone recalled. “To have your head coach trust you like that meant a great deal to me.”
“Whenever I think about Malik,” said Jones, “I will always remember those three 3s he hit against Duncanville to lead us to that win. Fifteen years from now, when Malik comes back for a visit, that will be the first thing I think about and, keep in mind, there are so many great memories about Malik. He had many excellent games as a junior and senior, too.”
It’s all those excellent games that caught the eye of Temple College and on Friday, at Ellison’s gymnasium, Malone signed to play for the Leopards.
“I wanted to stay close to home and I just had a good feeling about Temple,” Malone said. “I felt good there. They were very welcoming there and they treated me like a member of their family.”
Jones embraced Malone’s collegiate choice.
“I thought it was a solid choice,” Jones said. “I am proud of Malik. Temple plays at a fast pace and they shoot a bunch of 3s and that’s right up Malik’s alley.
“The sky is the limit for Malik Malone. I can easily see him going to a quality Division I school in a year or two.”
Malone is a 6-foot-6, 195-pounder who can play forward or guard.
“First, I must get better at defense,” Malone said. “I’m better than I was but I want to improve more. College guards are obviously a lot quicker than what we see at the high school level. And I want to get more aggressive with my rebounding.
“I think the strengths I’ll bring to Temple is that I can dribble real well for a big guy, I can shoot, I can control the pace and lead a team and I’m not afraid to get my teammates involved. I feel I can help lead a team with my abilities.”
This summer, Malone will be easy to find.
“I’ll be in gyms playing hoops all the time,” he said. “That’s my summer plan: Stay around here and perfect my craft, play games and work out. And I’ll keep thinking about Temple. I want to do my share to make sure we take things far.”