With the Wildcats trailing by seven midway through the final period, Evarts coach Jerry Ford switched from a zone to a man-to-man defense, and the Wildcats closed the game 12-1 run to edge the visiting Patriots 41-37.
Evarts (1-3) scored its final six field goals on drives to the basket or putbacks, showing more aggressiveness on offense soon after becoming picking up their intensity on the defensive end.
"When you're playing a zone, you have a tendency to get lazy on both ends of the floor. They stand and become spectators," Evarts coach Jerry Ford said. "We really turned it on late. The big thing was on offense when we started moving, setting screens and looking to attack.
"I thought if we opened up man we'd get tired and get beat on a lot of back cuts because they usually run the Princeton offense."
Model (1-2) played a big part in the Evarts comeback, going away from the trapping zone that had caused the Wildcats problems in the third period.
"It's my fault. I switched defenses a couple of times and probably shouldn't have switched defenses," Model coach Kent Miller said. "They made an adjustment (to the trap), and I thought we'd go to something a little different. That was bad coaching on my part.
"Then some things snowballed, and we didn't finish on the offensive end."
Senior forward Jamie Combs, who led the Wildcats with 10 points, started the comeback with a basket. A layup by Bryan Tompkins and a basket by Combs off a drive cut the Model lead to one with 1:44 left.
After guard Haydon Schneider hit one of two at the line, Combs tied the game with a basket off an offensive rebound with 1:13 remaining.
Following a Model turnover and an Evarts timeout, junior guard James Ledford put the Cats ahead with a drive to the basket with 35 seconds left. A miss by Model's Lamarc Harvey and a rebound by Ledford set up Dustin Mefford's layup with 12 seconds to play.
Model appeared to cut the lead to one on a 3-pointer by Davis Wells with seven seconds left, but Miller called a timeout before Wells shot, which wiped away the basket and the Patriots' last chance for victory.
The Patriots shot only 29 percent (15 of 51) from the field. Evarts was even worse, shooting 27 percent (seven of 26) from the field.
"We had to play through some things, and with a young team you're going to have to do that," Ford said. "They come out aggressive in the third quarter and were beating us down the floor in transition. We were standing too much and not moving. We hurt ourselves a lot."
Model led 11-7 after one quarter as Schneider and Quenton Sandwith each hit 3-pointers in an 8-0 run to close the period.
The Patriots continued to fire up 3-pointers in the second quarter against the Evarts zone, but couldn't connect. Model hit only three of 15 attempts from beyond the 3-point line in the first half and none in the second period.
Junior guard Jarrod Fields brought the Wildcats back in the third quarter with a trio of 3-pointers to help Evarts tie the game at 19-19 by halftime.
Model went to a zone trap midway through the third period and it immediately paid dividends as Evarts had 10 turnovers in the period, allowing the Patriots to build a seven-point lead. A basket by Combs to close the quarter cut the deficit to 28-23.
Two driving layups by Schneider, who led the Patriots with 22 points, were the only points during the first four minutes of the third quarter as the Patriots went away from the perimeter attack they relied on the first half.
"We talked at halftime about getting some dribble penetration against their zone," Miller said. "I probably should have been more vehement about that the second quarter. Usually, we shoot the ball pretty well, and I thought, well its going to fall."
The victory was a sign of improvement for Ford, whose Cats lost 85-56 at Richmond last year.
"Any time you win, it's a big shot in the arm," Ford said. "The biggest thing tonight was that we didn't quit."
Evarts returns to action Tuesday at home against Barbourville.
Cody Farley scored 15 points and Jarrod Fields added 13 as Evarts won 43-40 in the junior varsity game. Jesse Farley and Travis Helton each scored five for Evarts (2-1). Roger McKnight added four. Trevor Smith scored one.
Devon Gereld led Model (0-1) with 15 points.
Hayden Schneider 8-15 3-6 22, Jarred Middleton 1-9 0-1 2, Davis Wells 2-8 0-0 4, Quenton Sandwith 2-5 0-0 5, Lamarc Harvey 2-10 0-0 4, Brett Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Shawn Stapp 0-2 0-0 0, Kevin Haun 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-51 3-7 37.
Bryan Tompkins 3-7 1-2 7, Jesse Farley 0-5 0-0 0, James Ledford 1-5 0-0 2, Jamie Combs 5-13 0-0 10, Alex Bush 3-11 0-0 6, Dustin Mefford 2-8 3-4 7, Jarrod Fields 3-4 0-0 9, Trevor Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Travis Helton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-54 4-6 41.
Model 11 8 9 9 37
Evarts 7 12 4 18 41
3-point goals: Model 4-19 (Schneider 3-8, Sandwith 1-2, Haun 0-1, Wells 0-2, Middleton 0-6), Evarts 3-12 (Fields 3-4, Ledford 0-1, Combs 0-1, Tompkins 0-3, Farley 0-3). Rebounds: Model 26 (Harvey 9), Evarts 41 (Bush 13). Turnovers: Model 13, Evarts 19. Fouled out: None.