Hendersonville Middle holds off determined Polk Middle squad, 41-38

Polk County Middle finally ran out of comebacks Wednesday.

The Wolverines fought back twice from seven-point deficits, kept refusing to allow Hendersonville Middle to pull away. But the Bearcats did inch ahead just enough to take a 41-38 victory in a Blue Ridge Conference clash at Polk.

Polk Middle (0-3) rallied for its final tie early in the fourth quarter, deadlocking the game at 34-34 as Nolan Simpson turned a steal into a three-point play, hitting a layup and ensuing foul shot with 5:24 remaining.

Hendersonville scored the next four points before Avery Hensley hit a free throw at the 3:53 mark. The Wolverines missed a few subsequent chances to score, and the Bearcats pulled ahead 40-35 with 1:21 to go.

Polk, still not done. Aaron Jackson drove for a layup, drew a foul and hit the free throw to make it 40-38 with 1:12 remaining. The Wolverines then regained possession and took a shot to tie, but missed.

In the scramble following that miss, Hendersonville’s Jayden McMinn suffered a knee injury that resulted in a long stoppage of play. Hendersonville added a free throw when play resumed, and the Wolverines couldn’t get two late 3-point attempts to fall.

“I’m proud of them, the way they kept fighting and didn’t get down,” said Polk Middle head coach Brad Muse. “We keep making progressions, and today you saw more evidence of that. Now we have to learn to finish.”

Polk jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the first period, with Hensley and Jackson teaming early for all nine points. Hendersonville’s full-court pressure and outside shooting began to click in the second quarter, though, and the Bearcats closed the first half with a 9-2 run to grab a 24-17 lead at the break.

Jackson scored to open the third period and back came the Wolverines, taking a 27-26 lead late in the period on a Hensley rebound and layup. But the Bearcats answered with a pair of 3-pointers in a 8-0 run to again lead by seven.

Jackson and Piercen Edwards scored baskets in the final minute to make it 34-31 entering the final quarter.

Jackson finished with 15 points and Hensley added 12 to pace Polk Middle. The Wolverines also got three points from Simpson and two each from Edwards, Khristian Littlejohn, Lorenzo Sanchez and David Duffy.

Polk Middle returns to the court on Monday, traveling to Flat Rock.

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