No mask could hide the wide postgame smile Monday evening gracing Josh Money’s face.
The Polk County Middle boys basketball coach certainly had good reason for his good emotions, the Wolverines romping to a 52-20 victory over Apple Valley Middle in the season opener for both teams.
Polk Middle (1-0) raced to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes of the first quarter and were never seriously threatened thereafter. The Wolverines pushed the ball aggressively in transition and displayed an excellent passing attack that often generated easy layups.
“We did a lot of good things,” Money said. “The first game, players always have nerves, and you could tell it. We missed some shots and had some errant passes.
“But once we settled down, we got contributions from everyone. That was team effort basketball, and you gotta love that.”
Down 19-8 at the end of the first period, Apple Valley did briefly rally in the second quarter, cutting the Polk lead to 22-15. But the Wolverines scored three quick baskets, all on Gunnar Alm passes to Karlan McEntyre and Aaron Jackson, to push the advantage to 30-15. The Wolverines took a 34-15 lead into the dressing room at the half.
Polk grew the lead to 48-20 at the end of the third period and held Apple Valley scoreless in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
“There’s a lot we can improve on,” Money said. “It’s not a talent issue. We just need to sharpen up in a few areas.”
Alm had 10 points in the first period and finished with a team-high 20 points, with Jackson scoring 11. Banks Barber had eight points, with McEntyre scoring six, Avery Hensley adding five and Eno Baker scoring two.
Polk Middle is scheduled to return to action on Thursday, traveling to Hendersonville Middle.