Polk County's Antonio Simpson soars to the basket for two of his team-high 13 points in Thursday's game

Polk Countty doggedly clipped at Landrum’s heels Thursday evening, but the Wolverines ultimately dropped a 54-40 decision to the Cardinals in a non-conference clash at Polk.

The Cardinals improved to 7-1 with their seventh straight win, and early in the evening it appeared Landrum might match its 26-point margin earlier this season over the Wolverines, who fell to 3-4.

But Polk County battled throughout the evening to keep the Cardinals from fully dominating affairs.

How it happened: Landrum closed the first quarter with a 9-0 run to take a 20-8 advantage, then extended the advantage to 15 points midway through the second quarter.

But the Wolverines closed to within nine on an Antonio Simpson basket, and Khalil Watley’s 3-pointer helped send Polk into the locker room at halftime down 32-22.

The Cardinals opened the third period with 3-pointers by Franklin Davis and Mario Gonzalez and added a Davis basket for a 40-22 advantage, but Polk again responded, with Mackus Simpson draining a 3-pointer and Simpson scoring to cut the margin to 40-27.

The advantage largely hovered there the rest of the way as Landrum claimed its 10th straight win in the series.

Scoring: Antonio Simpson had 13 points to pace Polk County, which played without freshman Gunnar Alm, likely lost for the rest of the season with a broken hand.

Littlejohn and Mackus Simpson each had six points, with Wayne Carson scoring four. Watley, Aaron Jackson and Vincent Twitty each had three points, with Landen Bradley scoring two.

Davis led Landrum with 17 points, with Benett Edwards adding 11.

Next up: Polk County shifts into conference play on Friday, opening its Mountain Foothills 7 Conference schedule against Patton. The game will tip off around 7:45 p.m. and will be shown live on NFHS Network.