This time, Polk County began its comeback much earlier.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the end result remained the same.
Much as they did Friday, Avery got a basket in the closing seconds Tuesday and spoiled Polk County’s home opener, topping the Wolverines 73-71.
Just as in Friday’s 69-65 decision, in which the Wolverines rallied from a 10-point deficit with less than two minutes remaining, Avery center Landon Harmon hit the game-winning shot, working free for a layup with three seconds remaining.
While running to midcourt and jumping to celebrate the basket, Harmon landed awkwardly and suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury, stopping the game for several minutes.
Play resumed with just 2.8 seconds remaining, and Polk could only get an Antonio Simpson shot from well beyond midcourt that failed to drop.
“Just a couple of bad bounces is really what got us tonight,” said Polk County head coach Daniel Bradley. “If the guys play with that type of effort all season, we’re going to be in good shape.
“It’s a pleasure and privilege to coach guys who give you that kind of effort.”
Avery closed the first period with a 9-0 run and led 20-8 late in the quarter. The Vikings still led by 11 at the half, but the Wolverines opened the third period with a 13-2 run, tying the score at 37-37 with 4:41 left in the quarter on a Wayne Carson free throw.
The teams traded scoring flurries late in the third, with the Vikings pushing up by eight before Polk’s Damon Williams closed the quarter with a four-point play, hitting a long 3-pointer while being fouled, then canning the free throw to put Polk up 52-51.
The Wolverines pulled ahead by five early in the fourth, but Avery fought back to tie the game, and then the teams began swapping baskets. Down four with 1:15 to go, Polk got a rebound basket from Simpson, then forced a turnover that led to a Gunnar Alm layup, evening the score at 69-69.
The Wolverines induced another turnover and had a chance to take the lead, but couldn’t get a shot to fall. The teams then traded free throws before Harmon’s game-winning shot.
“We grew as a team tonight,” Bradley said. “And that’s what we’ve got to keep doing, just growing and continuing to play that way.”
Alm scored 28 points to lead Polk County, with Carter adding 12. Williams finished with seven, with Avery Harden adding five.
Aaron Jackson and Simpson each finished with four points, with Nolan Simpson scoring three.
Polk County will next be in action on Dec. 6, traveling to Madison.