Simons reaches career milestone with game-winning shot

Assistant Coach Ramone Shepard (left) and guard Richard Gaetano (right) congratulate Troy  Simons after his three-pointer gave the Eagles an 83-82 win over St. Petersburg. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)
Assistant Coach Ramone Shepard (left) and guard Richard Gaetano (right) congratulate Troy Simons after his three-pointer gave the Eagles an 83-82 win over St. Petersburg. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)

Troy Simons has made a lot of big shots, but none have been bigger than the three-pointer he hit as time expired today to give Polk State an 83-82 win over St. Petersburg College (No. 4 NJCAA Region 8) in Winter Haven. 

The shot not only won the game but also gave Simons points number 999, 1000, and 1001 of his Polk State career. 

Trailing 82-80, the Eagles called a time out with 10.3 seconds left. Head Coach Matt Furjanic called for a play to get the ball to Simons for a three-point attempt. 

"We drew it up and wanted to make sure we got the ball to him," said Furjanic. 

"We call it a 1-4, where we push four guys to the baseline We thought St. Pete would have their small guard on Troy, so we thought that instead of trying to get inside on their big guys, our best bet would be to have Troy pull up for a shot on their guard. 

"That's why we pushed it out and had Troy work it down and try to get a shot off. Troy made a heck of a play. He had a heck of a game." 

The Eagles had a 65-59 lead with nine minutes remaining. St. Pete tied it at 65 with 7:46 left to play. From that point the lead changed hands five times before Simons hit the game-winner. 

"It feels good," said Furjanic. "We've lost quite a few on last-second buckets and it was nice now for us to get a win. 

"It was a great effort by the team. St. Petersburg was very aggressive on the boards. I thought Luka Dmitrovic and Charles Humphries and Kevin Hamlet did a great job and so did our guards." 

Simons finished with 32 points. 

Kadeem Webb scored 12, while Luka Dmitrovic and Kevin Hamlet scored 10 each. 

Charles Humphries added nine points. 

The Eagles (6-19, 2-5) play Combine Academy at 7 p.m. Monday in Winter Haven.

 
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