Polk County's Aaron Jackson battles for a rebound earlier this season against Landrum

LANDRUM – A tough night for Polk County started from the tip-off.

Bennett Edwards dunked an alley-oop for the first points of the game, Polk County went scoreless for nearly all of the first quarter, and the Wolverines fell to the Cardinals 79-49 on Monday.

But the Wolverines played hard to the end, and coach Daniel Bradley saw something that he wanted to see going into the contest.

With only seven players, the Wolverines played together, and played for each other.

“They played hard the whole game,” Bradley said. “Our goal tonight was not to worry about the scoreboard, but to worry about playing as a team. We did better about that as the game went on. We didn’t have any attitudes or anything, we were just out there working together, and that’s what we’re striving for right now.”

Polk County (1-6) didn’t get any breaks, either. The Wolverines couldn’t get a shot to go in the early going, with a number dancing around the rim and spinning out.

“We got some good shots up,” Bradley said. “We moved the ball around a lot better than we had in previous games, and sometimes the shots just aren’t falling for you. And we played against a good opponent (Landrum is now 7-3). They played hard.”

They played particularly hard down the stretch once some shots started falling. 

Polk made three 3-pointers in the second half, with Avery Harden knocking down all three to add to his team-high 16 points. Gunnar Alm scored eight fourth-quarter points to bring his total to 11. And Antonio Simpson capped his 10-point night with an electrifying windmill-dunk-and-one that brought the crowd to its feet.

“It was good to get a little highlight shot,” Bradley said with a chuckle. “Antonio’s a good athlete, and a hard player, and he earned what he got there.”

The Wolverines have plenty to do over the break, with a game at Burns on Wednesday and three holiday tournament games. Bradley said they’d keep working.

“We’re going to keep plugging away, building that team mentality, and keep getting ourselves in shape,” he said.