As Hendersonville steadily ran toward triple digits Tuesday evening, Polk County boys basketball coach Lemont Jones hoped his Wolverines were carefully watching.
“That’s a team that is certainly capable of winning a state championship,” Jones said. “Our kids need to see that. They need to see the kind of teams that play for the gusto.”
The Bearcats played with plenty of spirit and found an offensive groove in taking a 101-53 victory over the Wolverines in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference clash at Polk.
Hendersonville (10-1, 1-1) reached the state 2A final last season, falling to Farmville Central, and the Bearcats returned nearly all of the key pieces from that squad with hopes of making another title run this year.
Polk County (5-2, 0-2), though, withstood an early Hendersonville run and battled back, cutting a 17-point deficit at the end of the first period to nine midway through the second. The Wolverines were active on the boards, limiting the Bearcats’ looks on the offensive end, and had a couple of 3-pointers in their surge.
But Hendersonville began to find its scoring range from all points on the floor, seemingly hitting shots on every possession in pulling away to a 57-21 halftime lead. Keenan Wilkins had 14 of his game-high 33 points in the quarter.
The Bearcats continued to build the margin in the third period, moving the game to a running clock, then turned its focus to reaching 100 points, finally doing so in the last two minutes of the game.
Seeing the Bearcats will also help prep Polk County for its first game after the holiday break, that a home game on Jan. 4 with an R-S Central team that defeated Hendersonville last week.
“We didn’t always play well, but we played hard,” Jones said. “We keep learning. We learned a lot on the run tonight.
“I thought our guards got tested by their pressure and played well. We played with effort and we didn’t quit.”
Dominique Carson led Polk County with 18 points, with Antonio Simpson scoring 13. Mackus Simpson added six, with Riley Searcy and Vincent Twitty each scoring four.
Kris Littlejohn, Isaiah Spears, Lawson Carter and Wayne Carson each scored two points for the Wolverines.