The final play of regulation for Northwest wasn’t meant to go to Eric Lolar — but Grizzlies’ coach Chris Collins also told his team to take what the defense gave them.
Southeast let the ball get to Lolar, who dribbled the ball up court and calmly hit his fifth three-pointer of the game with 3.5 seconds remaining.
The shot tied the game and forced overtime, where the Grizzlies held on to beat Southeast 68-66 on Friday.
“I just had confidence, put it up and made it,” Lolar said. “Early I missed a couple of shots. But I got myself into it after that. My teammates kept giving me the ball. They were feeding me. I guess I just had a good night.”
Lolar finished with a career-high 40 points and Northwest needed all of them to erase what had been a 12-point Southeast lead midway through the second quarter.
“I know he did it all within the flow of the offense because I don’t think he took a bad shot. That’s what I was pleased with the most,” Collins said. “It’s not as impressive if we don’t take care of business.”
Northwest trailed 28-16 in the second quarter before mounting a run over the final minutes of the half to cut Southeast’s lead to32-27 at the break.
Southeast opened the second half with a three-pointer by Elijah Payne before Northwest went on a 12-3 run to take its first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
Both offenses ignited in the final quarter. Southeast led by four points when Lolar hit a three with 34.9 seconds to play. Payne connected on a pair of free throws at the other end for Southeast, and Lolar responded with his final three-pointer on the final possession to send the game to overtime.
Shots weren’t as easy to come by in the overtime period. Southeast was limited to just one made free throw, while the only field goal was Brett Johnston’s jumper in the opening seconds.
Southeast had a chance in its final possession, but Payne’s shot in the paint was blocked by Brett Landenberger to end the game.
“This is the kind of win that we needed this late in the season, because throughout the year we’ve had bad losses,” Lolar said. “It was a battle, it was a fight. Those kids in there, all those young kids are fighters. We aren’t giving up, they weren’t giving up. It was a good game.”
SOUTHEAST: Loudermilk 8 5-9 21, Payne 5 6-8 18, Harding 6 1-1 15, Emerson 2 2-2 7, Franklin 0 2-2 2, Joseph 1 0-0 2, Oyugi 0 1-4 1. Totals 22(5) 17-26 66.
NORTHWEST: Lolar 14 7-9 40, Johnston 3 5-6 12, Williams 4 2-5 10, Brown 2 1-4 5, Nicholson 0 1-2 1. Totals 23(6) 16-26 68.