Sebring's Luke Ancrum scored two of his team-high 17 points to send the game into overtime, and Decaris Jones and Terrell Williams made clutch free throws to give the Blue Streaks a thrilling 69-66 district win over Lake Gibson on Friday night.
"This was definitely a rough game and there was no rest for the weary," said Sebring boys basketball coach Princeton Harris. "It was a physically tough game, but we executed and came away with a big win."
The hard-fought Class 6A-District 9 victory improved Sebring to 4-9 overall and 1-1 in district play.
"We're a young team and we're gradually getting better," Harris said. "We're taking steps in the right direction and I think we're going to be playing our best ball at the right time."
Sebring came out strong in the opening quarter, as Josh Austin scored five of his 13 points and Williams added five points, including a 3-pointer, to give the Blue Streaks a 13-10 lead heading into the second period.
Sebring went cold from the floor, while Lake Gibson's Joe Sheperd poured in 13 of his game-high 19 points, and Torrian Hampton added four of his 17 points to give the Braves a 33-28 lead at the half.
The Blue Streaks hit the boards with a vengeance in the third quarter led by Ancrum, as the sophomore forward scored six points and pulled down a number of rebounds to help Sebring get back in the game.
"We had to box out in order for us to win," Harris said. "I called Luke out during halftime and he came up big for us.
"He's still young, but he responded with a big effort and helped us get the win."
Jones hit a pair of jumpers to give the Blue Streaks a 45-42 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The teams battled on even terms until Lake Gibson stole an in-bounds pass and scored to take a 58-56 lead with 10 second left in regulation.
Sebring rushed the ball down the floor and Ancrum took a pass in the paint and scored between a pair of Braves with three seconds left to tie the game.
Lake Gibson's desperation shot bounced off the rim to send the game into overtime.
Sebring took control as Ancrum scored and Jones buried a jump shot to give the Blue Streaks a 67-61 lead, but the Braves nailed a 3-pointer to pull within 67-64 with 38.6 seconds remaining in overtime.
Lake Gibson closed within two points and fouled Jones with 4.9 seconds left. The Blue Streak senior calmly made one of two free throws and the Braves' 3-pointer from half court bounced harmlessly off the rim.
"Decaris came through like he always does," Harris said. "He leads the team in points, steals and assists and that's what I expect from him."
Sebring is back in action with a road game at Bradenton Southeast on Monday, and the Blue Streaks travel to Winter Haven on Tuesday for a key district game.
Sebring concludes its grueling week of road games with a contest at Lake Gibson on Friday.
"A win like this should give us a shot of confidence," Harris said. "We have to continue to play hard and the game against Southeast is going to be tough and then we have a big district game at Winter Haven on Tuesday.
"I know Lake Gibson will be ready for us on Friday and three road games in a row is real tough, but we need to step up and play with a lot of intensity and effort and see what happens."