Early drought again stymies Wolverines in loss to Landrum

Polk County's Amir Gary finds a path to the basket in transition during Wednesday's game with Landrum.

The early-quarter blues again left Polk County seeing red Wednesday night.

It has become a pattern this season for the Wolverines, a first-half stretch in which shots won’t fall and the opponent builds a large lead. Landrum took advantage of that trend Wednesday to build a 24-point halftime edge, key to an 89-71 win over Polk County in a non-conference battle at Polk.

The Cardinals (15-6) took command with an 24-6 run late in the first quarter and into the first half of the second, building a 32-12 lead. Foster Bridges had 12 points in that spurt, capping it with a 3-pointer for the 20-point bulge.

Polk County (3-17) played much better in the second half on both ends of the floor, but that first-half gap proved too large an obstacle to overcome, especially with the Wolverines playing their fourth game in six days.

“Those beginning jitters, I don’t know what that is,” said Polk County head coach Antoni Staley. “That’s something we’ve got to work on next season.

“Every team we’ve played, at some point in the game, we’ve held our own with that team. But once they jump out there, there’s always that gap. We’re always fighting that gap. We’ve got to find a way to fix that.”

The Wolverines scored the first seven points of the third period and pulled within 14 at the 5:32 mark on a Brandon Bacher 3-pointer. But the lead would get no smaller as the Cardinals kept their lead between 15-20 points the remainder of the night.

Trey Smith scored 26 points to lead Landrum, with Bridges and Manny Gonzalez each adding 16, Dalton Lawson scored 14 and Turner Ussery scoring 11, going 9-for-10 at the foul line.

Dillon Overholt and Brandon Bacher each had 10 points to lead Polk County, which had its largest offensive output since scoring 76 points earlier this season at East Henderson.

Markell Lipscomb had nine points, with Clark Phipps, Malik Miller and Jaymes Wingo each scoring eight. Seth Hardin and Amir Gary each scored four, with Rustin Muse and Jaylon Bontrager finishing with three points and Elijah Sutton and Wyatt Derkach each scoring two.