As the seconds wound down, the only thing on Michael Taylor’s mind was a bet – a seemingly safe bet someone made that he wouldn’t go between the legs and dunk during the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A boys basketball championship.
But after a furious fourth-quarter comeback, Taylor had all the adrenaline in the world and he did the unthinkable with a dunk that would make to punctuate an 81-71 victory against East Lincoln for the 2A title in the Dean Smith Center.
“When I saw him do it I said ‘Oh no!’ then I just jumped up. I couldn’t believe it,” Farmville coach Larry Williford said.
Farmville Central (28-0) looked like it was heading for its first loss, down by as many as 14 late in the third quarter and by two with 1:12 left in the game.
But instead, the Jaguars held previously undefeated East Lincoln (28-1) without a field goal for the final 1:54 of the game.
Farmville, which didn’t press many teams this year, found great success with it in the final minute, forcing five turnovers in a 31-second span to take a 77-71 lead with 33 seconds to go.
It helped that East Lincoln point guard Chazz Surratt, the Parade Magazine national football player of the year, fouled out with 4:17 to go.
Farmville Central led 34-33 at halftime but trailed 53-44 going into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, the Jags outscored East Lincoln 37-18.
Tyler Maye, named title MVP, had just seven points entering the fourth quarter. But the lights came on in the fourth, where he hit 4 of 5 from long range and scored 18 of his team-high 25.
“I felt like I was being too passive,” Maye said.
Sage Surratt, who had a game-high 32 points, was his team’s most outstanding player.
Farmville Central’s Ikesta Johnson (12 points, 11 rebounds) was the MOP for the Jags.
It was Farmville’s fifth appearance in the state championship. The Jaguars won titles in 1989, 1990 and 1993.
East Lincoln was runner-up for the second straight year.