Poulakidas scores 49 in Neuqua Valley's 2OT win at Bolingbrook
With Neuqua Valley's John Poulakidas putting on a shooting exhibition and Darius Burford battling early foul trouble, prospects didn't look that encouraging for Bolingbrook for much of Wednesday's nonconference boys basketball game.
Poulakidas scored a Neuqua Valley program-record 49 points and the Wildcats won 92-89 in two overtimes.
After missing his first three shots, Poulakidas connected on his next 10 baskets to score his team's first 17 points and give him 26 points at halftime. He continued his hot shooting after the break and at one point had made 16 of 20 shots and had 40 of his team's 54 points late in the third quarter.
But despite trailing by 12 points with 5:32 left in the game and their best scorer with hampered four fouls, the Raiders staged a huge comeback to force a tie through regulation.
After each team scored one basket in the first overtime, Neuqua finally got a lead and made six free throws to pull out a wild victory.
"When I came down with a calf cramp at the end of regulation, I had all the faith in the world in my guys," Poulakidas said. "I knew that they would be able to finish it out since I knew that they wanted it just as badly as I did. I had all the faith in the coach's play calling and all the faith in the world in my guys.
"I missed our last two games because I came down with the flu over winter break so I wanted to make sure that I came back with an aggressive mindset since this could be arguably our toughest game of the year. So I wanted to set the tone early."
Of course it helped to have the big night from Poulakidas, who had missed his team's last two games. But that nearly wasn't good enough for the Wildcats (11-4). The Raiders kept fighting even after Burford fouled out with 17 points with 3:24 remaining in regulation play.
Isaiah Stafford led Bolingbrook with 20 points, Kyonte Thomas scored 16, Kai Evans 13 and Myles Cooper 11.
Neuqua Valley's Connor Davis added 17 points.
Bolingbrook led 13-12 after one quarter and the Wildcats moved in front 38-34 at halftime. Neuqua took a 57-50 lead into the final quarter and led by 12 points at 63-51 with 5:32 left in regulation after Poulakidas hit three free throws.
Burford and Mekhi Cooper scored five points each down the stretch while Stafford added four points to help the Raiders finally pull even on a layup by Stafford with 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
In the last overtime Davis put his team up for good on a 3-point play and Nick Porter added three free throws to go with two from Poulakidas to wrap up the victory.
"Both teams battled," Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton said. "What I liked was the amount of charges that we took and that's how you win games."