Its usually explosive offense not clicking on all cylinders, Polk County Middle School turned Monday to a reliable standby – defense.
The Wolverines held Apple Valley to six first-half points en route to a 33-21 victory over the Knights in Blue Ridge Middle School Conference play at Polk.
With two easy preseason wins over the Knights, Polk County (4-0) had every reason to expect the same in Monday’s game. But it took the Wolverines’ trademark pressure defense to generate some easy baskets in the second period that allowed Polk to open a 21-6 halftime margin.
“This is the third time we’ve played that team, and we beat then pretty handily the first two times,” said Polk County head coach Billy Alm. “I think we figured we could come out and expect them to roll over. That wasn’t the case.
“They played hard and we didn’t play smart.”
Tied 4-4 early in the second period, Polk County began to click, scoring the game’s next 10 points. Six of those came without the ball crossing halfcourt, as Arnie Twitty scored off an inbounds pass, the Wolverines forced a turnover that lead to a DJ Twitty basket and forced another miscue that led to an Arnie Twitty score and a 10-4 lead. Holden Owens then scored four points, two of those set up by another steal, to up the margin to 14-4 with 3:48 left in the period.
Apple Valley snapped the run with a basket at the 3:26 mark, but Polk scored the final seven points of the quarter on a Peyton Kemmerlin free throw and 3-pointers by Owens and Dillion Overholt, giving the Wolverines their 15-point halftime margin.
Polk pushed the lead to 28-12 at the end of the third period, then got baskets by Arnie Twitty and Kemmerlin, plus a Kendal Wilkins free throw, to take a 33-12 lead with 3:22 remaining. Apple Valley scored the game’s final nine points to account for the final score.
Arnie Twitty scored 12 points to lead Polk County, which travels Thursday to face Hendersonville Middle.
“We’ll fix some things at practice tomorrow and move on from there,” Alm said. “We are coming together as a team.”
Polk County Scoring
Arnie Twitty 12, Holden Owens 7, DJ Twitty 6, Peyton Kemmerlin 4, Dillion Overholt 3, Kendal Wilkins 1