For some 11 minutes Tuesday, the bottom of the basketball net at Polk County High School successfully eluded the Wolverines.
Shots, many of them good shots, kept rattling around the rim and bouncing away, a cold spell that allowed Piedmont Community Charter to build an early 20-point lead and hang on for a 73-59 win over Polk County.
The shooting woes that have plagued Polk (2-4) throughout its first four home games were most present during that initital 11 minutes. That allowed Piedmont (6-4) to begin pulling away – following a Tyler Staley 3-pointer at the 3:10 mark that made it 11-7, the Patriots put together a 19-3 run to lead 30-10 with 5:08 left in the second quarter.
“We had a slow start,” said Polk County head coach Lemont Jones. “We’re still trying to find our identity with this group of kids. We played hard in spurts, but we’re still in a shooting slump.
“I stil love these kids. We’re just trying to find the right blend on the court.”
Two encouraging signs did emerge for the Wolverines – the rough start did not deter their fight, and shots finally began to fall. Trailing 33-12, Bryson Edwards and Wesley Royster hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Polk began to claw back into the game, eventually cutting the margin to 44-31 at the half on another Staley 3-pointer.
The Wolverines continued to press in the third period and got the margin back into single digits at 51-42 on a Dominique Carson basket with 4:31 left. But the Patriots scored the next seven points and kept the margin in double digits the rest of the way.
Polk County finished the game shooting 47.9 percent from the field, its best home effort this season. Carson led Polk with 24 points, with Staley adding 12. The two hit seven of Polk County’s 10 3-pointers.
Keyandre Thomas had eight points, with Max Perkins adding five and Shaq Wingo scoring four. Royster and Edwards each had three.
PCC’s Vincent Davis had 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 26 points, with Akiem Hudson scoring 20.
Polk County concludes its five-game homestand on Thursday as Chase visits. That will be the Wolverines’ last home game until January 10.