BOYS BASKETBALL: Trojans finish on top in see-saw battle with Wolverines

Published 11:28 am Monday, February 12, 2024

Chase held on Friday for its first win of the season, outlasting Polk County 81-79 in a frenzied Mountain Foothills 7 Conference matchup in Forest City.

The Trojans (1-19, 1-9) snapped a 22-game losing streak and earned their first win since Feb. 6, 2023. But it wasn’t easy.

Polk County (3-18, 1-9) took a 71-65 lead midway through the fourth period on a Nolan Simpson layup. Two Landon Barnes free throws and a Zeke Davis 3-pointer cut the Wolverine lead to one, but Aaron Jackson answered with a bucket to make it 73-70.

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Jeremiah Lipscomb and Barnes answered with baskets to give Chase a 74-73 lead. The Trojans still led 76-75 when Barnes blocked a Polk shot, leading to a Jacob Ezell layup to give the Trojans a three-point bulge.

A Jackson free throw cut the deficit to two, and Polk regained possession with a chance to tie, but committed a turnover. With some 30 seconds left, Ezell missed two free throws, but Barnes tipped away the loose ball and saved it back to Ezell, who drew another foul.

Ezell hit those free throws for an 80-76 lead before Lawson Carter drained a long 3-pointer to trim the Chase lead to one. Lipscomb hit a free throw to make it 81-79, but missed the second, with Polk grabbing the rebound and calling timeout.

Following a Chase foul on Polk’s first inbounds attempt, the Wolverines got the ball to Gunnar Alm, who drove to the basket, but had his layup partially blocked by Barnes at the buzzer.

Chase held an 18-12 lead at the end of the first period, but Polk responded with a 29-point outburst in the second quarter, taking a 41-35 lead at the break. Back came the Trojans, grabbing a one-point lead entering the final quarter.

Jackson had 27 points to pace Polk County, with Alm scoring 20 and Carter adding 17. Avery Harden finished with eight points, with Khalil Austin scoring three and Nolan Simpson and Carmello Young each adding two.

Barnes had 28 points to lead Chase.

Polk County returns home Tuesday to face East Rutherford, kicking off the final week of the regular season.