A determined Polk County Middle boys basketball squad kept looking to rally Monday against Rugby – and kept running into Raider standout Corbin Carter.
Carter poured in 31 points, often stopping Wolverine comebacks, to lead Rugby to a 48-31 win over Polk Middle in the Wolverines’ home opener.
The tall, lanky Carter not only used his height advantage inside, but also hit three 3-pointers and scored several layups in transition. He helped carry Rugby to a 25-11 lead late in the second period, burying a 3-pointer for that advantage.
Polk Middle’s Wesley Royster answered with a 3-pointer, and Tyler Staley grabbed a loose ball and hit a left-handed 12-footer at the halftime buzzer to pull the Wolverines within 11, 27-16, at the break.
Rugby (3-0) pulled away in the third period, holding Polk Middle scoreless until 2:21 remained in the quarter, when Shane Parris scored on a short jumper to cut the Raiders’ lead to 32-18. Carter responded with a 3-pointer, and Rugby grabbed a 39-20 edge at the end of the third.
The Raiders pushed the lead to 44-23 in the final quarter before Polk Middle put together a final rally. Shag Wingo and Royster hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 44-29 with 3:03 remaining. Dominique Carson followed with a steal and layup to make it 44-31, and the Wolverines forced another turnover, but failed to score on that possession. Carter then hit back-to-back baskets to account for the final margin.
Wingo and Carson each had nine points to lead Polk Middle, which also got five from Royster, four from Parris and two from Staley and Chan Barber.
Polk Middle (0-3) is back in action on Thursday, traveling to Apple Valley Middle.