Polk County’s Wesley Royster had eight points in Thursday’s loss to Christ The King

Polk County held its own Friday with one of the state’s top 1A teams before falling 61-46 to Christ The King in the opening round of the Timberwolf Holiday Classic in Mount Gilead.

The Wolverines (2-8) will face Australia Storm on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the third-place game. The tournament is being held at West Montgomery High School.

Christ The King (8-2) grabbed a 33-19 halftime lead. The Wolverines rallied to within four, 38-34, in the third period, but the Crusaders scored three straight baskets to squelch the rally, then kept the margin in double digits much of the rest of the way.

Polk County played without leading scorer Dominique Carson, who is nursing an injury and will miss the tournament.

“I was pleased with the effort, especially against one of the top teams in Class 1A,” said Polk County head coach Lemont Jones.

Keyandre Thomas had 14 points to lead Polk County, with Tyler Staley scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Bryson Edwards scored nine points, with Wesley Royster adding eight with four assists.

Max Perkins had two points and four rebounds, with Brett Bagwell scoring two points with seven rebounds.

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