Amir Gary launched the overtime 3-pointer that would doom Brevard, got knocked flat on his back after doing so, immediately hopped up and looked to play defense.
In many ways, it was a microcosm of Polk County’s season.
The Wolverines have taken their lumps this season, but rebounded from Friday’s loss to Avery with one of their best efforts of the season on Saturday, a performance that produced a 66-63 overtime defeat of Brevard in a non-confernce game at Polk.
Gary’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left gave the Wolverines (3-15) a 65-63 edge. Brevard missed a shot on its ensuing possession, and Jaymes Wingo was fouled while corralling a loose ball after the miss.
Wingo hit one of two free throws with 4.9 seconds left, and Brevard (8-13) never got a shot attempt off before the buzzer sounded, signalling the end of Polk County’s seven-game losing streak.
“These guys showed a lot of heart,” said Polk County head coach Antoni Staley. “It’s been a long week, and playing on Saturday, to get a win, that shows a lot.
“A lot of different people stepped up. We took our time and we’re getting to the point where we’re making good decisions. There were guys taking shots that they wouldn’t have even taken two weeks ago. That’s good to see, guys that you normally don’t see stepping up and making plays.”
The Wolverines hit 6-of-7 free throws in an eight-second span (Brandon Bacher fouled during a 3-pointer and hitting all three, Gary hitting 1-of-2 after a Brevard technical, Wingo hitting two after being fouled in the lane) to take a 60-54 lead early in overtime.
Brevard rallied back and grabbed a 61-60 edge, but Dillon Overholt hit two free throws with 44 seconds left to return the lead back to Polk. A Blue Devil basket with 37 seconds left set the stage for Gary’s 3-pointer and the late heroics.
A close game throughout, neither team led by more than three points in a frenzied fourth quarter. Brevard grabbed a 54-52 edge with 31 seconds left in regulation, but Jaylon Bontrager grabbed a missed shot in the final seconds and scored to force the overtime period.
The largest lead of the night for either team was Polk County’s 42-37 edge late in the third period following a Gary 3-pointer.
“Win or lose, these kids know they have each other’s backs,” Staley said. “Our bench, those guys who were not even playing, they were cheering and having input and supporting each other. Elijah (Sutton, who fouled out in regulation) was leading that. Sometimes that doesn’t go in a constructive way, but they were offering good ideas and support.”
Wingo had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Polk County, with Overholt adding 12 points. Gary, Bontrager and Markell Lipscomb each added seven points, with Lipscomb also grabbing eight rebounds.
Bacher added six points and five steals, with Seth Hardin scoring five points, Qualon Sutton adding three and Elijah Sutton and DeAndre Miller each scoring two.
Polk County continues its four-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting North Buncombe.