Polk County patiently ran its offense Friday. The Wolverines rebounded, took care of the basketball, played good defense much of the night.
And just needed a couple of shots to fall in the final minutes.
Mitchell scored the final eight points of the night, snapping a tie with three minutes left to hand Polk a 54-46 setback in a Western Highlands Conference boys basketball battle at Polk.
It might well have been the best effort of the season for Polk (0-12, 0-3), which pulled into a 46-46 tie with 3:18 left in the game as Clark Phipps scored five points in a 19-second span.
The Wolverines then had two opportunities to take the lead, but came up short on two midrange jumpers. Mitchell finally pulled ahead with 1:32 left, then hit 4-of-6 foul shots in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.
The Wolverines were held scoreless after Phipps’ flurry.
“We’re playing better. We just didn’t hit the shots when we needed them,” said Wolverine head coach Lemont Jones. “We had good effort tonight, and that’s you can ask for as a coach. I loved the effort. They played their butts off.”
Mitchell (5-9, 1-2) scored the game’s first seven points, but Phipps and Amir Gary teamed for three 3-pointers to help Polk tie the game at the end of the first period, then pull ahead in the second before Mitchell snared a 23-20 lead at the half.
The back-and-forth continued in the third period, with Mitchell pulling ahead by five points twice in the quarter, only to see the Wolverines rally each time.
Mitchell moved ahead 44-38 early in the fourth before Gary drilled a 3-pointer to slice the lead in half with 7:10 to go. Polk, though, wouldn’t score again until Phipps’ five-point outburst. Then the Wolverines wouldn’t score after that.
“We tried to slow things down and get better shots,” Jones said.
Gary hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points to lead Polk County, with Phipps adding 15 points and three 3-pointers. Dominique Carson added five points, with Mitchell Yoder scoring four and Tyler Staley adding three.
“I wouldn’t trade this group for anything. They’re all I can ask for,” Jones said. “I know the W’s aren’t there, but we’re trying to rebuild a culture here. Winning doesn’t drive discipline, but discipline brings winning. The wins are going to come.”