Patton’s early, late efforts stop Polk County

Were Saturday evening cast as a three-act drama, the middle act’s spotlight would have shone on Polk County.

The opening and closing, though, featured too much Patton.

The Panthers controlled the opening and closing quarters, enough so to claim a 63-45 victory over the Wolverines in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference matchup at Polk.

The game unfolded in a much different way than the first meeting between the two teams in December. Patton (10-3, 4-0) dominated that matchup from start to finish, building a huge halftime edge en route to a 33-point victory.

The Panthers clicked early Saturday as well, starting the game with a 19-4 run fashioned on an uptempo approach and building a 17-point bulge, 31-14, with 2:33 left in the second period. Polk County (6-7, 0-5), though, began to slow Patton’s offense and find some of its own, pulling within 11 before Patton’s Waylon Rutherford drained a long 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.

The Wolverines returned from the dressing room and built on that momentum in the third period thanks in large part to senior guard Dominique Carson. Honored before the game for reaching 1,000 career points, Carson scored 10 straight points in the third period, capping that spurt with a 3-pointer as Polk pulled within four, 40-36, with 2:33 remaining.

But Patton’s Connor Rudisill stopped the Wolverine run with a traditional three-point play, and the Panthers lengthened the lead to 47-39 by quarter’s end. Clamping down on Carson and getting its transition game back in sync, Patton pulled away in the final quarter.

Carson finished with 26 points to lead Polk County, with Mackus Simpson adding seven. Kris Littlejohn had five, with Lawson Carter scoring three and Kanye Staley and Vincent Twitty each adding two.

Rudisill had 20 points and Rutherford had 15 to pace Patton.

Polk County will begin a three-game road trip on Wednesday, journeying to Hendersonville for another conference matchup.

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