Elijah Proby’s two free throws with seven seconds remaining lifted the Navarre Raiders to a 56-53 win over Pensacola Tuesday night.
A desperation 3-pointer by the Tigers as time expired bounced off the rim, setting off a celebration among the Raiders (7-2), who defeated Pensacola (8-2) on the road for the first time in program history while extending their win streak to five.
Assistant head coach Dave Proctor, filling in because Taf Bentley is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct, praised his team’s mental toughness.
“Our guys are mentally tough,” Proctor said. “We know what to do, we are well prepared and we all have each other’s backs.
The Raiders survived despite star point guard Matt Harshany fouling out.
“We played harder than they did, we wanted it more than they did and we did it in their gym,” Proctor said.
Harshany finished with 26 points, drilling three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, but the Raiders still trailed 17-15.
Momentum shifted in the second because of Sage McKenna, who dominated in the paint and drained a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to push Navarre in front 35-24. McKenna scored 11.
“I told him at the beginning of the year, if you keep developing, you are really going to be a difference maker. And he has been,” Proctor said”
David Melega knocked down a jumper to stretch the Raiders’ lead to 48-30. The Tigers then began their comeback.
It was a one-point game when Bryant Davonchae turned a steal into a dunk, cutting the Navarre lead to 54-53. With the pressure rising, Proby calmly sank his two clutch free throws.
“When guys work together and have great chemistry, anything is possible,” Proctor said. “We have a really special team, and we are just getting started.”