BRADENTON -- With 1:47 remaining in Saturday's boys basketball game against Palmetto, Southeast's Corey Davis drew his fifth foul, slumped his shoulders, then walked slowly back toward the bench.
The Seminoles were going to have to play the final seconds of the game without their sturdy senior, but it really didn't matter. The 6-foot-4 forward had already done more than enough damage to get Southeast to the finish line safely, and the home crowd let him know it with a loud round of applause.
Davis poured in a game-high 29 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter alone, and the Noles led wire to wire in a 75-64 win over the rival Tigers.
Davis hit two 3-pointers in a 2-minute stretch midway through the fourth quarter that enabled Southeast (5-3) to turn a six-point edge into 11 with 3 minutes remaining.
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"It was huge," Noles coach Floyd Watkins said. "Particularly since we saw him getting going early. Usually if he gets some plays going in our favor early on, we get hot. Once we saw him get a couple early, we knew he had an opportunity to do some big things for us."
After playing from behind from the opening tip, Palmetto (5-4) couldn't recover from Davis' final surge.
The Tigers were harassed by Southeast pressure throughout, finishing with 30 total turnovers in
cluding 12 in the first quarter. Just four minutes in, Palmetto was already on the run and the Noles had a double-digit lead, 19-9.
"Our strongest defense is our press," Davis said. "When we get them to trap we can force them to panic and turn the ball over. We use that as our advantage."
Southeast guards Tre Alexandrea (20 points, seven assists, four steals) and Keives Brooks (seven assists, five steals) were at the center of things defensively, playing furious full-court D that usually kept Palmetto from setting up its offense and working the ball to high-scoring forward Tre Clark.
"We wanted to play with a lot of energy," Watkins said. "We wanted to utilize our advantage we felt we have at the guard position and we were able to get some turnovers and convert them into baskets."
Clark got his numbers, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds, but the wild pace of the game and the Tigers' inability to run set plays kept him from getting into a rhythm. He finished just 7-of-17 from the field.
Center Kyle Edwards added 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for Palmetto, while Southeast's Alex Taylor finished with nine points and nine boards.
The Tigers, playing their second game in less than 24 hours -- having blown out Braden River on Friday night -- were not at their sharpest. They were sloppy with the basketball throughout the game and routinely got out-hustled by the Noles for loose balls and weakside rebounds.
"That is our goal every night, to get those proverbial 50-50 balls," Watkins said. "It could be anybody's ball, so who wants it most? A lot of times I feel like we're on the losing end of that, but it felt good to be on the upside of it. It makes a big difference, because every play could be the play that potentially determines the game."
It was the first of three straight in-county rivalry games for the Noles, who face Braden River and Lakewood Ranch next week.
"You know you're going to play your local schools once or twice and you want to perform well," Watkins said. "We root for each other when we play teams outside the county, but also we want to have that county supremacy if we have the opportunity."
That's exactly why Davis was wearing such a wide smile after Saturday's non-district victory.
"It's a big game," Davis said. "We're rival schools and it feels good to win against Palmetto two years in a row."