Take two teams battling for a division lead and it’s often small moments that play the largest role in determining the final outcome.
So it went Thursday for Polk County Middle’s boys basketball team. Rugby hit three straight 3-pointers in a just over a minute of game time, the centerpiece of a 12-2 run that carried the Raiders to a 49-36 victory at Polk.
Rugby (5-2, 4-1) closes the first half of its Blue Ridge Conference East Division schedule tied with Brevard Middle for the division lead. Polk Middle (3-4, 3-2) dropped a game behind, still very much alive in the fight for an East title.
For the Wolverines to have a say in that championship battle, they’ll need to get healthy – several players were back on the court Thursday after recovering from illness – and find a way to stop a run like the Raiders put together in the second quarter.
Polk trailed just 9-8 when Rugby unleashed its outside barrage, teaming those with three free throws to build a 21-12 lead with 2:29 left in the quarter.
The Wolverines largely played on even terms after that until the latter stages of the fourth period, but could never get the deficit below seven points.
Luke Garrison led Polk Middle with 14 points, with Brody Wilkins adding eight. Hollis Williams returned to action and had six points, with Dallas Littlejohn scoring four and Nate Fagan and Keyan Simpson each adding two.
The Wolverines will enjoy the holiday break and return to action on Jan. 4, hosting Hendersonville Middle.