Senior guard Jake Wolfe was having a solid scoring night Friday when he suddenly went cold in the fourth quarter.
But the Lipscomb recruit knows how to make big shots for Aurora Christian when it what matters most.
Wolfe hit a key 3-pointer with 1:17 left and a pair of free throws with eight seconds to play as the Eagles held off scrappy Harvest Christian 58-56 for a Northeastern Athletic win.
"I've worked all my life on my game and I know that if I miss a shot, there's always a next shot," said Wolfe, who scored a game-high 24 points. "So when the game's on the line, I know I'm going to hit the shot for my team."
Aurora Christian (6-0, 2-0) appeared to be on track during an 8-0 run at the end of the second quarter for a 32-17 halftime lead. The Eagles beat Harvest Christian (3-2, 1-1) by 16 points in a tournament game last week in Aurora.
"I knew coming in it was going to be a dog fight — they were hungry coming in," Aurora Christian coach Dan Beebe said of the Lions. "We hadn't had a close game this year. We got our first adversity, then figured out a way to win in the end."
Mark Davila, who scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the third quarter, led Harvest to a 23-15 advantage in the third quarter to pull the Lions within 47-40.
Davila's layup sparked a 6-0 spurt that closed the Lions within two points with 1:54 left. A free throw by Logan Jones cut Harvest's deficit to 53-52 before Wolfe calmly hit his 3-pointer from the left wing.
After Harvest responded with Jack Nohava's layup, Wolfe sank the late free throws and Jones drove the length of the court for a layup at the buzzer.
"Their game plan was to slow the game down," Wolfe said. "We just didn't shoot the ball well. They played hard and had a lot of energy."
Will Wolfe added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles. Grant Young scored 12 points for Harvest.
The Lions were hurt by two technical fouls, one for water spilled on the floor near the bench and another for a delay of game. Jake Wolfe made all four technical free throws.
"To play against a team like Aurora Christian and be in a tight game that goes down to the wire, it's great for our kids," Harvest coach Bryan Bradshaw said. "I'm proud of the way our guys responded."
Bob Hurst is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.