In the midst of its longest losing streak in three years, the Bettendorf boys basketball team was looking to turn its season around Friday night.
The Bulldogs used a fourth-quarter rally, some resolve on the defensive end and the offensive exploits of D.J. Carton to snap the skid.
Carton tossed in 31 points and Bettendorf overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 3 minutes of regulation to clip Davenport Central 68-65 in overtime at George Marshall Gymnasium.
"It feels good," Carton said. "It wasn't pretty, but I'm proud of our guys. We showed a different part of us, some toughness and grit at the end.
"We were hungry for a win."
Bettendorf (5-7, 4-5 MAC) had not won since a 50-40 triumph over Burlington, a span of 31 days.
There were some lopsided losses in that stretch but also some heartbreakers — a four-point defeat to Assumption last Friday and a two-point setback to Davenport North on Tuesday.
Bettendorf coach Curtis Clark reminded his team before the game its losing streak matched that of his 2014-15 squad, the longest he's experienced as a varsity coach.
"Those aren't records we're looking to break here," Clark said. "I tried to use it as a rallying tool for us to get a road win in a tough environment.
"I think the guys were tired with the results, and I thought it was more of a will than anything."
Carton, who recorded his third 30-plus point game in the last four outings, drained a 3-pointer from the left wing with 27 seconds left in regulation to even the game.
The Bulldogs put Carton on the weakside. Aided by screens from Oliver Bakeris and Phil Gist, Carton was able to spring free and hit just his second 3-pointer of the night in eight attempts.
"He draws a lot of attention, so we thought if we cut him through to the weakside, it would release some of the pressure," Clark said. "Those guys set some really good screens, and the pass was on the money."
Central (3-8, 2-7) had two chances to win it in regulation. Momodu Kargbo's floater in the lane with less than 8 seconds left caromed off the rim. He hauled in the rebound. His putback try from the right corner was no good to send the game into overtime.
In the extra four-minute period, the Bulldogs snatched the lead for good when Carton drove uncontested to the basket for a lay-up with 40 seconds left.
"They were forcing me right, and I noticed there was no lane help," Carton said. "I was just able to attack and get to the rim."
Then with 8.4 seconds left, Trevor Feller made one of two free throws to put Bettendorf in front by three. Diontrel Wommack had a shot to force a second overtime, but his 3-point try from the top of the key misfired.
Nate Tyson led the Blue Devils with a season-high 28 points while Wommack finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Central missed six free throws in the fourth quarter after not missing in the first three periods.
Devynn Wakefield joined Carton in double figures with 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Clark hopes this can launch his team moving forward.
"When you get in a rut like that, six (losses) in a row, it is always hard," Clark said. "This has to be a springboard for us.
"We're certainly not where we need to be, but this will help with our confidence in what we're doing in practice."